The season of giving has started a little early at Meridian Public School as the National Honor Society kicked off their annual Mustang Merriment program. The NHS Sponsor and School Counselor, Lisa Hermsmeier, is continuing on the gift giving program for its fourth year at Meridian Public School. 
“It’s a very good program,” said Hermsmeier. 
Mustang Merriment is a community project that provides gifts for families with children attending Meridian Public School that are in need of assistance. It is designed to relieve a little of the worry and stress of the season from some families and help bring joy.
Participants or families wanting to receive aid must fill out a gift request form by November 15. These forms are distributed to students to take home. On the reverse side is a section for families willing to provide gifts to fill out and return to the school’s office. 
After the forms have been received, Hermsmeier will assign the gift requests a number to maintain anonymity and give the requests to families wanting to provide gifts. These families are only given the age of the child, gender, and what they have requested. 
In previous years , the program has not started up until after Thanksgiving, but there is rhyme and reason for the early start this year. It was suggested to Hermsmeier to get request lists out to providing families before Thanksgiving.
“This year [provider] families will get the gift requests before Black Friday,” said Hermsmeier. 
She went on to say that this way the families could purchase more gifts to provide for a lesser price than normally advertised. The gifts would need to be to her by December 15.
Once Hermsmeier has the gifts, the NHS students wrap them and stick them with the corresponding number to maintain anonymity for the receiving family. 

After all the gifts have been wrapped and numbered, Hermsmeier will arrange for the gifts to be get to their respected family. 
Going off of the spreadsheets from past years, Hermsmeier said that it seems to have grown each year. She attributes this to the power of word-of-mouth in the community. Last year a total of 50 kids were touched by the program’s merriment. Hermsmeier believes the program is so successful because it is anonymous. 
“Because this is my first year here, I may need help distributing the gifts,” said Hermsmeier. 
She has multiple methods as to how she can get the gifts the kids. With the aid of other teachers, and by contacting the families, she can bring joy to every family in need. 
Hermsmeier believes that this program is a great opportunity to engage the community and bring them together in a season where some families are stretched thin. Students also have the chance to see how effected their peers are by poverty and brings awareness to this epidemic that hits closer than they know to home. 
“Students can look at how they can make a difference in their very community,” Hermsmeier commented. 
The forms for providing gifts and the gift request list are due back to the school office by November 15 and Hermsmeier will distribute request lists to providing families before Thanksgiving break.