Ceremonies and Celebrations, a program to help middle and high school students purchase new clothing for graduation, is collecting monetary donations to help students prepare for spring ceremonies.

"This year, the number of requests is considerably higher," Human Services Director Barbara Butler said as she announced the collection of donations for the 11th year. Donations are made in response to requests from school staff or others for assistance in purchasing new clothing for students, she said.

"Last year, thanks to the generosity of the Westport community and the schools' PTAs, 40 Westport students were able to purchase new special-event clothing for their graduations from middle and high school," Butler said. Her department has received numerous notes of thanks and the photographs of proud young people as they walked across the stage or stood with their relatives on their special day, she added.

Tax-deductible donations can be made payable to "DHS Family Programs" (memo line: Ceremonies) and will be accepted through June. Gift cards of any amount from American Express, Visa, Master Card or the Westfield Trumbull mall can also be donated. A special teacher or person honored with a donation made in his or her name will receive a formal letter of acknowledgement.

Donations can be mailed or delivered to the Department of Human Services, Westport Town Hall, Room 200, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport CT 06880.

To inform the Westport Department of Human Services of someone who could benefit from the program, contact Patty Haberstroh, family program coordinator, at hsyouth@westportct.gov or 203-341-1069.