by Anne Schmidt

Guest Blogger, Kearns Junior High Community Learning Center

For the past three years at Kearns Junior High we have implemented a service project called “Santa for a Cause.”  The purpose of the project is to provide families at Kearns Junior High with Christmas presents.  The project begins in mid-November with the students and for one month the students raise money by purchasing Christmas Chains to decorate their home room classrooms. The students have contests to see which homerooms can raise the most money then they are given small rewards for the most money raised (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 who have the greatest needs.  This year after all the money was raised it was determined that we could help 25 families.  Some of these families participated in what we call the Holiday Store, some families received assistance from the Unified Police Department, some families were adopted by other families who provided Christmas for them, and we also received donations from Granite Education Foundation and United Way that helped additional families.

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.  This year, 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 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 very Merry Christmas!