Interact’s Holiday Festivities Focus on Helping the Community


Rhonni Witham and Shannon Sullivan

People often view the holidays as a time to receive gifts. Rather than receiving gifts, people should focus on giving back to the community. The Interact club at Ipswich High School hosts The Jingle Bell Walk every year in December. This is one of the club’s main fundraising events which also gives the children of the community a fun day filled with holiday activities. Along with the club, the Rotarians of Ipswich helps to make this event run smoothly.  We had a chance to attend the event and speak to the officers of the club.

Leah Harmon, Andrew Fremont-Smith, and Grace Quinn let us in on the inside scoop of the event. Grace Quinn said, “The first part of the event is the parade. The whole club meets the kids and their families at the town wharf and walks to the town hall. Along the way we are selling bells and singing Christmas carols.” We watched as this took place and the children had the true Christmas spirit one should have at that age. Before the big parade began, kids gathered by the water as Santa arrived on a police boat. Other characters like Buddy the Elf (played by Andrew Fremont-Smith) and The Grinch (portrayed by Jesse Cullen-Popp) joined in on the fun.

Arriving at the Town Hall, the club members work together to run each station. The members helped to organize the games, paint faces, and make arts and crafts. Walking into the gymnasium of the town hall is a sight to see. “The interact members work from 5pm – 8pm the night before the event to decorate the whole gym. The kids should feel like they are in some sort of North Pole scenery,” Leah added.  Along with all of the games and activities for the kids, all of the food and trees at the event were donated by local businesses. Many raffles took place as well; there was a raffle for a brand new Ipad mini, along with a raffle for actual Christmas trees donated by Marini’s Farm!

In the past, the Jingle Bell Walk has raised an immense amount of money. Each year prior to this, the club has reached their goal of at least $1,000. “The event of December 2015 was when the club raised the most money, taking in $1,350,” said Keith Harris, Interact Club leader. Catching up with the officers after the North Pole was cleaned up, they filled us in on their profit from this year’s events. “This year didn’t have as much profit as last year, but we ended up raising $1,250,” Harris added. You could say this event is a fun way to make some extra money to put towards the club’s future along with spreading Christmas spirit to the children that attend the event.