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Food, Blankets, Stuffed Animals Warm Hearts This Holiday Season

Dec 19, 2014 02:35PM ● Published by Julie Slama

East Sandy Elementary School students cut fringe and tied fleece blankets for Primary Children’s Hospital patients as part of their Month of Giving. Photo courtesy of Jane Healy

Piles of blankets, food, stuffed animals, books and toys are being shared with those less fortunate this holiday season, thanks to local school children.

East Sandy Elementary kicked off the holidays with its second annual month of service, where students donated time, supplies and talent all November.

“We started last year with the idea of a service project day, and when the principal [Kenna Sorensen] suggested a Month of Giving, it has just evolved,” Parent-Teacher Communication Chair Jane Healy said. “We want students to think outside themselves and do something helping and serving others.”

This year’s month-long campaign included a winter clothing drive serving about 25 East Sandy students and families, as well as providing seven bags full of clothing for recent refugees who just arrived from central Africa, Iran and Iraq.

Students created alphabet books in Swahili and English to be sent through Africa School House to African children learning to read; wrote more than 100 letters for soldiers through Operation Gratitude; drew pictures on 350 paper placemats, made more than 80 holiday cards for Meals on Wheels recipients and tied fleece blankets for Primary Children’s Hospital patients.

East Sandy students also donated more than 2,500 items of food for the Utah Food Bank and donated more than six large plastic bags of stuffed animals for Project Teddy Bear for at-risk students at the Family Support Treatment Center and House of Hope, coordinated through the Bank of American Fork.

“Hopefully, we’ll do the Month of Giving every year and it will get bigger and better. Parents are glad to see their children helping do something for someone else,” Healy said.

Willow Canyon and Oakdale students also are collecting stuffed animals for other children.

Willow Canyon staff and faculty also collected hats, gloves and scarves for homeless shelters, Principal Marilyn Williams said.

Willow Canyon and Jordan High School are involved in Sub-for-Santa programs. At Jordan High, students are supporting families in need within Canyons School District.

Jordan senior class historian Kayla Carruth said they hope to provide 100 families with turkey vouchers, blankets, coats and gift cards.

“We’re giving everyone the opportunity to give back to help the people around us,” Kayla said.

Alta High students are raising funds through the Make-a-Wish Foundation to support a girl named Lilly and her family to travel to Florida, Principal Brian McGill said.

Peruvian Park and Sunrise students are donating to the 50th anniversary of KSL’s Quarters for Christmas campaign that provides coats, boots and warm clothing. Contributions from the collection will go to children who benefit from Crossroads Urban Center, Catholic Community Services and The Road Home.

Edgemont and Silver Mesa held canned food drives in November to provide food for those in need. Silver Mesa collected seven barrels of food for the Utah Food Bank, said teacher Kevin Nelson.     
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