MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There will be songs and celebrity sightings at a school holiday concert in Westchester Saturday night, but there’s also a higher purpose to the star-studded event too.
Ten percent of students in the district are classified as homeless or displaced. Their community is coming together to make holidays happier for them.
Mount Vernon superintendent Ken Hamilton – a one-time backup singer for “The Fugees” – has been rehearsing for his moment in the seasonal spotlight.
Saturday’s holiday concert will also help collect coats, presents, and gift cards for the 900 students in the district who need assistance.
“We have perhaps the largest number of students in Westchester who qualify as homeless or displaced,” Hamilton said.
“I try not to think about it, always try to keep a positive attitude around this time of year,” one student told CBS2’s Tony Aiello said.
Another student, Renee, is the oldest of four who live in emergency housing.
“It’s kind of hard on me because like I feel like I’m a parent,” she explained.
The superintendent adds that Mount Vernon has many shelters and emergency housing units. There are also countless families who are taking care of a child for a relative, for any number of reasons.
Donations taken at the concert door will help brighten the season for students who face enormous challenges.
“We care about you! And it’s okay to be in need of help, and it’s okay to ask for help. And that’s the message,” Hamilton said.
Actress Naturi Naughton will recite “The Night Before Christmas” at Saturday’s concert.
Donations for homeless students will be taken at the door starting at 6 p.m.