BOUNTIFUL – Students from Viewmont High got a taste of Santa’s job this week, as they worked to bring Christmas gifts both practical and fun to children in need.
It was just one of dozens of campaigns carried out by Davis School District students during the holidays. Projects included raising money for homeless families, buying shoes for children in need and helping fellow students with medical needs.
Tuesday found 100 Viewmont students filling the aisles at Smith’s Marketplace two hours before the store’s official opening.Students carried copies of letters children at Guadalupe School in Salt Lake City had written to Santa and lists of necessary items.
There were yawns here and there Tuesday morning, as might be expected with a 5 a.m. start time, but there was also enthusiasm:
“It’s crazy (to be up so early) but it’s so fun buying all these things,” said Abigail Riddle, a student body officer at Viewmont. “The kids are so worth it.”
Clothes were first on her list, then, with the amount left over from the $150 she could spend on the child, she would purchase toys.
Sarah Erickson, Melissa Gutke and Brittney McDonald kept their eyes open for items on sale in order to make the best use of the money allotted.
But shopping was the fun part. For four weeks prior to the shopping excursion, students had conducted fundraising campaigns to bring in the money necessary for the purchases.
They raised $40,000. Some funds will also be used to benefit Davis County families in need.
“It was cool to see the whole community come together,” said Dallin Wright, a student body officer.
“Everyone seemed to forget their own financial troubles and wanted to help others as well. It’s exciting that we get to give these kids the opportunity to have a Christmas they wouldn’t have had without us.”
Smith’s was stocked with extra hats, gloves, socks and underwear to prepare for the generous students, according to Michelle Martin, an employee.
They start placing orders for the right sizes of bootsmonths in advance, and will restock some items after the shopping spree is finished.
“They’re really cute with it,” said Martin of the high school shoppers. “They’ll say, ‘Do you think they would like this?’”
Jeans flew off the racks Tuesday morning and would need to be replenished from other stores in the area, she said.
Smith’s offered the school a discount and provided wrapping paper.
Gifts will be wrapped on Wednesday and delivered on Friday to the K-4 school, along with hygiene kits and food for each family’s holiday meal.
This is the 25th year that Viewmont has raised money to help needy families at Christmas.
At other district schools, similar efforts are underway.
Students at North Davis Junior High are raising money to help a fellow student who is battling leukemia.
The Christmas Box House will receive funds collected by North Layton Junior High students in a dress-casual fundraiser. The school’s Teen Living class is also making blankets for homeless children.
Layton High students set a goal to raise $10,000 to help homeless students.
Stewart Elementary is donating looming hats and lightly used clothes and toys to the Frodsham Farms Christmas event.
At Centerville Elementary, children are raising money for Martin Park Elementary in Alexandria, La. The school was destroyed in a fire allegedly started by a 12-year old last October. Money raised will help purchase school supplies, backpacks, books and materials.
A lift to help a wheel-chair-bound student is the focus of a holiday drive at Burton elementary.
Students at Buffalo Point and Cook elementaries in Syracuse are collecting money for the “Warm the Souls” campaign sponsored by Horizon Credit Union. Buffalo Point hopes to provide 600 pairs of shoes, and Cook is also holding a food drive for the local food bank.
At E.G. King Elementary, students are raising money to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Hundreds of origami cranes are being made at Ellison Park Elementary in Layton. They will be donated to Primary Children’s Medical Center.
Mountain View elementary is providing a Christmas to a local family and Renaissance Academy in Kaysville continues its year-round service projects helping at a homeless shelter and an assisted living center.
Providing help to others is “one of the greatest feelings you can ever feel, especially around Christmas,” said VHS’ Wright.