Some Columbia County pupils might be learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic this holiday season - they also are learning about the joy of giving.
"It makes me very happy," said Erik Macintyre, who with his mother picked out a Scooby Doo bouncing ball for Martinez Elementary School's toy drive. "At Christmas, we are supposed to give stuff and share stuff, and we are giving to a homeless child."
The toys Martinez Elementary pupils collected - about 300, which filled their stage at an assembly Monday - were donated to the Columbia County Foundation for Children. This week, the nonprofit agency will distribute the items to the 46 children in the county foster care program.
"I hope when you wake up Christmas morning you will remember these children and feel good in your heart that you have given to help them," said Deborah Gay, a volunteer with the children's foundation. "Everything you gave is so appreciated. I want you to continue to give. Part of growing up is learning to give to others."
Six-year-old Marisa McKnight picked out a Barbie to donate to the toy drive.
"Christmas isn't about getting toys, it's about giving," the first-grader said.
Gail Threatt, a third-grader, also bought a bathing-suit-clad Barbie for the toy drive.
"It makes me feel good," she said.
At Stevens Creek Elementary School, Principal Michelle Paschal is practicing her cartwheels. She promised her pupils that if they collected more toys than last year, she would perform a cartwheel for them. The school is a major contributor to the Toys for Tots program.
Here's what some of the other schools are doing:
Items donated by pupils at Martinez Elementary will be given to foster children in Columbia County.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Euchee Creek Elementary is accepting donations of food for the Salvation Army.
Riverside Elementary has collected 682 pounds of food for the Golden Harvest Food Bank and collected two car loads of new toys, clothing and stocking stuffers for the Columbia County Foundation for Children. Fifth-grade classes filled shoe boxes for orphans overseas. The school has also collected blankets, towels and toiletries for the Augusta Rescue Mission.
Lakeside High's student council sponsored a danceSaturday. The price of admission was a new toy. All the toys will be donated to local charities.
The Future Business Leaders of America club at Lakeside High School is selling student-made paper ornaments for $1. All proceeds go to Girls Inc. to buy Christmas presents for 100 girls ages 4-8. FBLA also is preparing candy bags for Girls Inc. that they will use at the organization's Christmas party. The candy bags and ornaments will be delivered to Girls Inc. on Dec. 17.
The Family Career and Community Leaders of America chapter at Lakeside High is adopting the fifth- and sixth-grade group at Girls Inc. for this school year. The club is taking filled stockings on Wednesday to each of the 26 girls. Their names have been monogrammed on each stocking. Students also have sewn 13 Christmas pillowcases that are being delivered to the Children's Medical Center at Medical College of Georgia. These will be given to children on Christmas Eve.
Harlem Middle School's Student Council is sponsoring a canned food drive for Golden Harvest Food Bank. The Junior Beta Club is sponsoring a project to adopt two families for Christmas presents and meals. The counselors have organized a clothing drive, and all grade levels are making Christmas cards for residents of nursing homes.
Columbia Middle School has donated money to the Salvation Army, the student council has sponsored a can drive for the Salvation Army, the Beta Club and seventh-grade class collected coats and blankets for the needy and the student council and Beta Club also sponsored a toy drive for Toys for Tots. Pupils also collected stamps which were delivered to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, and CMS Band performed a Christmas concert to collect pet food and supplies to benefit the Humane Society.
Belair Elementary School collected toys for Toys for Tots and provided an opportunity for pupils to give toys in honor of their teachers in lieu of a gift.
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