Oak Knoll Students Raise $914 for 3 Nonprofits

Despite the snow that caused Oak Knoll to shorten its schedule during the first week of February, the H.O.P.E. Committee (Helping Other People Everywhere) was still busy at work fundraising to serve nonprofits in need.

Oak Knoll School students enjoyed dress down day Friday, February 5, 2021, raising $914 to benefit The Human Needs Food Pantry located in Montclair, New Jersey; The PERIOD Movement and Operation Smile .

The H.O.P.E Committee serves as a clearinghouse for all OKS fundraising, collections, drives and all other monetary requests.

“I take great pleasure in serving people both in my community and outside of it,” said Mariah Traynor ’21 of Maplewood. “I want to be able to give back as much, if not more, than I have received and this task is one of many ways to be selfless. Raising money through fundraisers and giving it to organizations such as Operation Smile is much more impactful than it may seem. Fundraising for these organizations and realizing the good you are doing strengthens one’s personal values and inspires others to do the same,” she said.

During the dress down day, Oak Knoll community members were asked to donate $5 to participate in the fundraiser and all proceeds were donated to the following four charities:

Human Needs Food Pantry
The Human Needs Food Pantry located in Montclair, New Jersey, has provided clothing, food, and shelter to people in need who live in Montclair and neighboring communities in Essex County. They strongly aid families and single parents, elderly, disabled, home-bound, and unemployed or underemployed. Established in 1982, the Human Needs Food Pantry is an independent non-profit organization that uses 90% of the funds we raise to directly provide food for those in need.

The PERIOD Movement is a global nonprofit organization that is fighting to end period poverty and stigma. They believe this can be done through three pillars. Service, Education, and Advocacy. Founded by Nadya Okamoto when she was 16, PERIOD has taken large strides in combating period poverty. While Nadya was an undergrad at Harvard, the organization began to take off. Nadya also has a book published called Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement.

Operation Smile
The Operation Smile Club at Oak Knoll works throughout the year to raise money and awareness through organizing fundraisers, to support the Operation Smile Foundation. This non-profit group uses the funds they receive to provide cleft palate and cleft lip surgeries for families who are not able to pay themselves. Their fundraisers include bake sales, dress down days, and possible collaborations with other high schools. OKS students raised awareness about cleft lips and palates by hanging posters throughout campus and giving presentations on the topic during homeroom.

For more information about Oak Knoll’s H.O.P.E. Committee please visit https://www.oakknoll.org/upper-school/student-life/clubs/.

heather o'hern, national merit finalist