When her second-grade daughter, Abigail, came home from school, put presents under the Christmas tree and eagerly told her brothers, “I got you a present today,” Robin Allen said her heart melted.
“(Abigail was) ecstatic,” Allen said. “Her enthusiasm (was) heartwarming.”
Allen, head secretary, Morris Hill Elementary School, is in charge of running the holiday shop at the school, which provided the opportunity for students to do some holiday shopping for Families and friends from Dec. 17 to 20.
Allen also is a mother and got to experience firsthand the difference the holiday shop can make.
“Our goal is to teach the children (that) it’s nice to buy something for someone else and give to someone else,” Allen said.
Tables in the shop were full of jewelry, picture frames, mugs, stuffed animals, notepads, headphones, key chains, pens, pet toys and more for the children to peruse.
Fifth-grader Abbey Marks participated last year and came back this year to shop for her brother, sister, grandmother and mother.
Marks said she likes seeing “all the (different) gifts you can get and the expression on their faces when they open (the presents) on Christmas.”
Military spouse and mother Tiffany Williams volunteered to help children with shopping and to help wrap presents, so the gifts are a surprise for Family members.
Williams said her son was so excited the night he brought his presents home, he wanted his Family to open them right away, she said. He understood the concept of giving, but Williams said she had to explain the concept of waiting until Christmas.
“I’m proud of the kids because they’re not just thinking of themselves,” Williams said.
“They’re actually buying a variety (of gifts) for their Families.”
Alyssa Thompson, kindergartener, Morris Hill Elementary School, was looking for presents for her mother, father, sister and dog.
“That is so sweet,” Williams said. “I just love it when they even get down to their animals.”
Pet toys and necklaces that say “mom” are popular items, Allen said.
“I got my aunt a heart necklace and heart earrings,” said Marnaa Puok, fifth-grader, Morris Hill Elementary School.
Puok and her friend and fellow fifth-grader Breanna Ward also got into the spirit of giving by volunteering in the shop.
“Fifth-graders are allowed to work in here,” Ward said. “(We) help little kids shop because they’re not good with money.”
The older students help out kindergarteners and first-graders who don’t have a good concept of money and what items cost, Allen explained.
“They take them around (the shop) and explain, ‘You don’t have enough for that item, so maybe we should pick something else.’ They get involved and do that,” Allen said.
Students are allowed to shop during certain class times. Marks said she likes that the school makes it easy for students to buy presents.
“You can get things for your mom without going everywhere around the world to get them,” she said.
By Julie Fiedler
1st Inf. Div. Post
Julie Fiedler | POST
Ticona Patterson, military spouse, Junction City, right, wraps gifts for kindergarteners Skylar Herman, center, and Lokelani Seymour, left, at the holiday shop Dec. 18 at Morris Hill Elementary School.