Volunteers at Carkenord Elementary in Chesterfield Township put a twist on this year’s Santa shop in an effort to share the spirit of giving with students.
The school’s Family Council, along with help from volunteers, raised the funds needed to supply gifts for the Santa shop this year. Instead of students bringing money to buy gifts, each student was able to select up to six gifts for friends and family free of charge.
“The focus was a return to the spirit of giving, where all students were given equal opportunity to go through the entire process of making a list of gift recipients, selecting an appropriate gift and wrapping the gift,” said Stacy Clark, Family Council co-president.
The changes to this year’s Santa shop also help solve problems seen in the past, Clark added.
“Too much money sent in, children shopping for themselves, children forgetting their money and, sadly, children who couldn’t participate because families couldn’t afford it,” she explained. “In the past the Council had used ‘elf bucks’ to help these children. The process of figuring out who was really in need of these ‘elf bucks’ was stressful on the teachers, the council and parents.”
The six-member Family Council raised funding to buy the gifts in various ways, including through book sales and a walk-a-thon, Clark said.
Several volunteers also helped make the event a success, including parents who donated wrapping paper, tape and bows.
“We had two to three parents per class that came in not only to help with their child’s class, but stuck around to help children shop and wrap all their gifts,” she said. “This also wouldn’t have been a success without the help of the teachers, office staff and our principal, Mr. May.”
Clark noted, “Nothing beats the feeling you get when you make someone’s day, whether it be giving your time or gifts. To see the faces of all the children, including those who have never been able to participate, and the excitement to pick out a gift all on their own was so rewarding.”