Christmas came early to students at two of our community schools last week, thanks to Vivint Sub for Santa. Last Thursday 50 volunteers visited Roosevelt Elementary Community School, and on Friday, over 100 came to Lincoln Elementary.
Vivint Gives Back has provided Christmas for students at Lincoln Elementary for the last four years and as the company has grown, they have expanded to other schools in need, adopting Roosevelt this year for the first time. Employees donated their own money to provide toys and clothes for the students, and Vivint matched all donations dollar for dollar–spending $75 per student.
Holly Mero-Bench, manager for Vivint Gives Back, welcomed all the volunteers and shared the vision for the day. Each student was asked to fill out a form with their wants and needs in November, and as Holly was going through each request she said many students listed socks, blankets, and pillows under the “wants” — and several included basic food items for “needs.” Mero-Bench, who has a 6 year-old kindergartner of her own, said it was heart-breaking to think of her own son, so sincere and so in need, asking for socks as the one thing he wanted most for Christmas.
Lincoln and Roosevelt Elementary both have large refugee populations and each school has over 25 primary languages spoken. For families who have lost everything while moving to a new country, the holidays can be especially difficult.
As the students came in grade by grade, they were each greeted by a smiling volunteer carrying a big bag of toys and clothes. The volunteers sat with each child and opened the gifts, laughing and crying and wishing each other Merry Christmas. It was definitely a magical experience and one I was honored to be a part of this Holiday season.
If you’d like to volunteer, UWSL has holiday opportunities listed on the homepage and many more chances to serve year-round at www.uw.org/volunteer. Thank you, Vivint, for making spirits bright with your generous giving and LIVING UNITED!!