McDonald students helping veterans during the holidays

McDONALD — During the holiday season, McDonald High School students are taking part in various service projects including one to help homeless veterans.

Jody Conway, high school special education teacher, said the students are working with Robert Marcus of Homeless Outreach making care packages for the homeless.

Conway and teacher Dana Lariccia said there has been an increase in homeless veterans in the Mahoning Valley.

”It breaks our hearts to see men who’ve served our country struggle. We want to help,” said Conway, noting 11 percent of the homeless population are veterans.

The veterans served as far back as World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars to more recent conflicts in Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq.

McDonald High School is collecting donated goods to provide the men and women veterans of Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Portage counties with care packages to help them through difficult times.

Items or monetary donations are being collected until Dec. 15.

Conway said statistics indicate 37,471 veterans are homeless with 1.4 million at-risk of becoming homeless each day. There is extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to healthcare that cause these veterans to be without residence.

Conway said the school is also collaborating with various businesses in each county in collecting items.

The student council participated in Christmas in the Village Nov. 25, volunteering its members’ time by working various stations and spreading holiday cheer. Students have also participated by having a student body toy drive to distribute to community centers.