The Live Oak High School Key Club rang in the Christmas season — literally.

More than 20 Key Club members participated in the Salvation’s Army Red Kettle Bell Ringing at the Walmart Supercenter in Watson, where they rang the bell on the iconic red kettle earlier this month.

Key Club President Cade Canepa said that this was the first time in the school’s history that the club participated in such a project. He doesn’t anticipate it being the last.

“I’m just glad that we are finding new ways for our members to give back to the community,” Canepa said. “The money raised from Key Club’s efforts will go back to the Salvation Army, which they will use to help provide meals for those in need during the holiday season.

“This holiday season is going to be tough for many families,” Canepa continued. “We are seeing that the food bank is dangerously low. Governor [John] Edwards declared a call to action to stock our food banks. And this is not occurring only in the Baton Rouge area. Our country has had many devastating natural disasters, and we are starting to experience donor fatigue.”

That’s what makes Key Club so vital, said junior Adante Sails, who added, “Key Club is able to help the people who are unable to celebrate by providing services and gifts.” Sails was only able to participate for one hour of the day-long bell ringing, but he said he “loved every minute of it.”

Senior Daylon Holder expressed similar feelings to Sails. Holder said his favorite part of bell ringing was, “Seeing that we made people smile with how we were out there dancing.”

When one shopper asked club secretary Elizabeth Hilton why she’d wake up so early to ring a bell, Hilton responded, “I am just really passionate about Key Club, and I love volunteering in our community and giving back.”

The comments from Sails, Holder, and Hilton can be applied to any member from Live Oak’s Key Club, Canepa said.

“We are building a community at Live Oak where people love helping others,” Canepa said. “I am glad to have had such a large part in that, and I am looking forward to what is going to be done in the future.”

Key Club International is a service-based leadership program of Kiwanis International, and it is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. It gives members the opportunity to provide service, build character, and develop leadership skills.

The Live Oak High School Key Club, sponsored by the Denham Springs Kiwanis Club, has donated more than $3,000 in disaster relief in the past year.

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