Teaching assistants (elves) bring
Christmas cheer to students
By Linda Petersen
Dec. 7, 2017
MORONI—Santa Claus gets a little extra help at Christmastime from some special elves at North Sanpete Middle School in Moroni.
For the past five years, several teaching assistants have put together a special Christmas store for students whose families might not otherwise be in a position to put very much under the tree.
Starting in October, teachers at the school, the student council and community members begin donating items for the store. Those items have varied over the years and have included socks, blankets, jewelry, and home decor but always include new or gently used clothing, coats, hats and gloves, along with toys for all ages. Other items like gift cards or cash are also accepted.
Participating students are nominated by teachers and the office staff and receive a special written invitation to the store where they can pick out items they need for themselves and for their families.
Teacher assistant Anita Port said students are usually very careful to choose only what they think their families need, and afterward she, Cindy Blackham, Linda Larsen and Sheree Baird will gift-wrap what the students have picked out so they are ready to be put under the family’s Christmas tree.
The store was the idea of Catherine Hansen, a teacher at the school around five years ago, who got thinking about those students who wouldn’t have much at Christmas. She thought a store where those students could get some items their families needed would be a good way to give back, Port said.
That first year, around 10 to 15 students shopped at the store, Port said. This year, that number is expected to be more than 50.
The store is usually open one day after school, and the nominated students receive a special written invitation to shop there. As with everything related to Santa, the date the store is open and its exact location are kept under wraps and only given out on a need-to-know basis.
In the past, family members could shop with the students, but Post said with the growth in the number of students being invited, this year they are limiting the invitation to students only.
“A lot of people help and contribute to the Christmas store,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
Community members who would like to donate to the store can contact Port at the school. If it’s too late for this year, organizers can always store items for next year’s store, she said.