As the Kearns Community Learning Center Coordinator, I have been involved in a service project for the past three years we have dubbed “Santa for a Cause.” The purpose of the project is to provide families with the greatest needs at Kearns Junior High with holiday presents.
This has been a very fulfilling and worthwhile project because it brings the students and teachers together on a common goal but more importantly because of the impact it has on the families.
In November, the students raised money by purchasing Holiday Chains to decorate their home room classrooms. The students have contests to see which homerooms can raise the most money. They are given small rewards for the most money raised (i.e. doughnuts, getting out of class early). In mid-December when all the student money is raised the teachers have a service auction. The teachers bring services or goods to auction to one another and raise money for the project.
Once all of the money is collected and counted the “Santa for a Cause” committee (with the help of the faculty, administration and counselors) determines the families with the greatest needs. This year after all the money was raised, we found we could help 25 families. There were a number of ways we were able to help families: through assistance from the Unified Fire Department, other families in the Kearns community who “adopted” families in need, donations from the Granite Education Foundation and United Way of Salt Lake, and the main project: The Holiday Store.
The Holiday Store
Eleven families participated in the Holiday Store. The concept behind the holiday store is that families are able to “shop” for their families. Certain types of items are given “point values” and people come and pick items based on the point system. Each family receives an outfit for each child under 18 in their home. They also receive hygiene kits, household items, hats and gloves, and gift items. The store this year was a great success. Each family who came wrote a thank you note to those who donated items to the store. Here are a couple of quotes from those thank you cards:
Thank You Letters
“Thank you so much for the wonderful gifts you gave to our family. After losing my job right before Thanksgiving we had no idea how we were going to do Christmas. Thank you for our love and kindness.”
“This Christmas was going to be a sad one, but thanks to all the donations it will be the best Christmas.”
“Behind the scenes of life we find a hand that cares and maybe they don’t know how important their gifts are or maybe they give and never hear of what came of their generosity…but I believe that in their hearts they have felt warmth because a child’s spirit was lifted on that Christmas day because someone cared. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.”
A special thank you to everyone who donated to Kearns Junior High this Holiday season; as a result of the donations we helped many families in the Kearns area have a Happy Holiday