During December, the high school’s Patriot and SADD clubs worked to collect toiletries and winter hats and gloves for homeless veterans, reaching out to both fellow students as well as the community. Before the holiday break, club members filled 23 gift bags, one for each resident of the Veterans Place in Yaphank, with enough items left over to save for future residents.

“The response from the community was heartwarming and overwhelmingly generous,” said teacher Laurie Osbern, the Patriot Club’s adviser. “We can always count on Deer Park to come through whenever there is a need for support.”

The Patriot Club had previously run a districtwide fundraiser in November for the GI Go Fund, an organization that assists veterans, active-duty personnel, family members and other members of the military community with employment, benefits and housing. Students and staff from each district school building wore patriotic clothing to show their support, while school, district office and transportation department employees raised $1,600 in donations.