LAWRENCEVILLE - 'Tis the season for giving, and many schools in Gwinnett, Buford and Barrow are collecting canned goods, toys, coats and other items throughout the holidays.
"Schools are a key part of the community," said Sloan Roach, the spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools. "(Collecting the items) is a way to help students see the merit and the joy that comes with giving to others."
Schools are donating the goods to homeless shelters, charities and families in need, school officials said.
Several schools in Gwinnett and Barrow counties have already collected canned good and coats, but some schools will continue the collections throughout December.
North Gwinnett High School plans to start a Toys for Tots collection after the Thanksgiving weekend.
South Gwinnett High School will be collecting canned goods.
Maxwell High School of Technology will sponsor children at the Quinn House and collect donations to purchase three items from each sponsored child's holiday wish list.
Many Barrow County schools have been collecting items as well, said Lisa Leighton, the school system's spokeswoman.
Westside Middle School recently donated 1,500 cans of food to the Barrow County Food Bank.
Holsenbeck Elementary School collected 1,551 cans for the Winder Food Pantry.
Kennedy Elementary School raised more than $3,046 for The Light, Barrow County's new homeless shelter.
Some schools will continue to have drives throughout the holidays. Winder-Barrow Middle School's National Junior Honor Society will be collecting toys after Thanksgiving for Toys for Tots.
In Buford, individual schools have collected toys or other items, Assistant Superintendent Allison Miller said.
The schools will be involved with a Stuff the Bus campaign after the holidays, she said.