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Santa Shop opens at Bartow's South Central Middle School
by Monica Burge
December 11, 2012 02:43 PM | 2694 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, South Central Middle School science teachers Moss Fountain and Sarah Clark go through donated items that will be available to students at this year’s Santa Shop
From left, South Central Middle School science teachers Moss Fountain and Sarah Clark go through donated items that will be available to students at this year’s Santa Shop
During the holiday season parents often go to extraordinary lengths to show their children the reason for the season, often with no thought for themselves.

But believe it or not, kids notice.

Julie Hill learned just how much back in November 2008 when she watched a television news program about the effects of the economy for kids at Christmas.

“At a time when little kids are supposed to be excited, they feel bad,” said Hill.

Hill said watching the program led her to find a way to help children at South Central Middle School, where she works as administrative assistant.

Hill said she got together with volunteers and organized Santa Shop, a free gift shop where less fortunate children are able to shop for Christmas gifts for the adults in their lives.

The kids will be able to shop for gifts and have them wrapped by volunteers to take home to their loved ones Dec. 20 and 21.

South Central Middle School Assistant Principal Tia Hawkins said part of the joys of Santa Shop is seeing the delight of the participating children.

“Most of them are awestruck that they get the opportunity to pick from such a wide variety of items for something special for that adult in their life,” Hawkins said. “Once they realize they really get this opportunity they just can’t stop smiling.”

All of the gifts for Santa Shop are donated from local businesses, members of the community or purchased with monetary donations.

Hill said Santa Shop gladly accepts donations of gift cards or gift certificates for retail, restaurants and services and new or very gently used “smaller-than-a-breadbox” gifts for adults.

Items for women can include jewelry, bath items and scarves but there is a greater need for items for men. Gifts can include tools, cologne, hats and sunglasses.

Since the shopping is for adult gifts, no toys donations are needed and since there is limited storage space, no clothing is needed.

There also is a need for wrapping paper, gift bags and wrapping supplies Hill said.

Donations are accepted through Dec. 19 and may be dropped off during school hours at the front desk.

Hill said Santa Shop means just as much to the staff and volunteers as it does to the kids.

“It’s not Christmas until we’ve done this,” Hawkins said. “We all like to get involved. It’s so much fun. It’s amazing to see the looks on the kids’ faces.”

Information: (770) 606-5865.
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