Hillcrest School is getting ready for another successful Christmas Store this year going into their seventh year of operation.
Every year the school takes donations and provides a Christmas shopping experience to their students. People from the community donate gifts or cash that will become available in the school’s Christmas Store. The students can pick from the donated items and have them wrapped by the schools elves and then the students will have gifts they can give to their family or loved ones.
“They are slowly trickling in and we have just put out adds in the last couple of weeks so we are just sort of seeing things slowly trickle in,” said Sara Pippus, the school’s community education liaison.
The amount of donations last year was around 300 items, which allowed students to have a second round of wrapping presents.
“Every year in the last six years we have had enough gifts the students were allowed to go through the store twice”, said Pippus.
Originally the Christmas Store was held in the library but Pippus didn’t want to deprive students the use of the library this year.
“This year it is going to be in our former computer lab”, said Pippus.
Among many things the Christmas Store helps teach student’s about giving instead of being at the receiving end of gifts.
“They pick at least one gift out to give to someone special in their life, so that is how they learn about giving and thinking of other people. Originally it was to give our students an opportunity to shop in a school environment where we teach them about giving and teach them about being good to other people. Lots of kids don’t have an opportunity to shop for other people because they tend to be the ones who are shopped for,” said Pippus.
Pippus has found that the community puts just as much effort and hard work into the Christmas Store as herself and her volunteers.
“We have a lot of community people who have stepped up this year to make sure that this shop can continue. What we see is the community’s generosity. The community tends to step up every time and donate to our school, it is a good way for the community to show they care for the students and the students know they are cared about and that they can trust our community,” said Pippus.
The donations that are acceptable are gently used or new items. Pippus knows that people do have a lot of extra stuff at home but those extra items may not be best suited for Christmas presents.
“Just gently used or good new items as long as things are something that you think as a parent I would like to receive, don’t bring us stuff you have no other place for,” said Pippus.
Pippus and many others would like to see the Hillcrest Christmas Store experience spread to other schools.
“We have always sort of put the idea out there to other people but I don’t think there is anyone else that has taken up the idea yet,” said Pippus.
Members in the community are welcome to volunteer or donate items to spread the Christmas sprit. If anyone has any interest they are encouraged to contact the Hillcrest School or check out one of the Christmas Store flyers that are circulating around town.