Schools gather, donate food, toys, clothes

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Wilson County Schools students know that it is more important to give than it is to receive.

All across the county, students and teachers have banded together to gather toys, food, clothes.

“I think it’s a life skill that everyone, at some point in time, has opportunity to give something and to receive,” said Claudia Spencer, principal at Winstead Elementary School. “It is one of those pieces that begins at home, and then we just carry it forward at school as well so that they see that giving doesn’t just happen at one particular time. It is something that honestly should happen throughout the year.”

Second-graders at Winstead gathered blankets for donation to area shelters.

“It makes me feel like I am a good citizen, and it makes me feel glad that I am sharing,” said second-grader Cassidy Allen.

Second-grader Kimberly Yelverton said giving makes her feel happy.

“Giving is caring,” Kimberly said. “You might get hypothermia if you don’t have a blanket, and you need a blanket to stay warm.”

Lisa DiMaggio, a second-grade teacher, said she has done similar drives in the past.

“We just wanted to come up with an idea that could keep Wilson residents warm this winter and also kind of model and instill love and compassion in our students,” DiMaggio said. “I just hope that all of our students will carry this on throughout their life and continue to do good.”

Second-grader Alexander Vazquez said “it is more important to give, so somebody can stay warm.”

Fellow student Jamal Ward, said Christmas is more than getting presents and playing in the snow. Jamal said it makes him happy to be able to give to others.

“Some people might have no covers,” Jamal said. “That’s why you have to give.”

Stacy Jones, a second-grade teacher who helped organize the drive, said the project started with an idea to give back to the community.

“We decided that giving blankets to our shelters would be a good thing for our students to take part in, building that character and giving them a chance to give back,” Jones said. “They are a part of our world, a part of our community.”

Spencer said as a school, Winstead is fortunate that people in the community have looked out for them, not just at certain times during the year, but over the course of the school year and not just this year, but over previous years.

“They look out for not only our students but for our staff and for other members of our communities through different things as well,” Spencer said. “The most exciting part was we had complete strangers come in to donate blankets. They saw that we were having the blanket drive and they came and brought blankets.”

The blanket collection was extended a week when staff member at Lucama Elementary got word of it and their second grade sent home letters asking for blanket donations to add to the ones Winstead kids had brought in.

Other Wilson County Schools with seasonal projects include the following:

• Teacher Lisa Lewis led a Penny Challenge where student and staff contributed coins at Hunt High School.

• Stantonsburg Elementary School held a toy drive for foster kids in Wilson County.

• Jones Elementary School Student Government Association led a food drive.

• Wilson County Schools Central Office had its annual Angel Tree with the first name of a student in need and a wish list item for that child. Office staff purchased clothes and toys for the children.

• Springfield Middle School band teacher Danusia Honeycutt led an effort in which band and general music classes provided cards and gifts for Riley’s Army at the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital in Greenville.

• Wells Elementary School staff have pitched in to give something to the students who receive weekend food bags with something to play with, something to wear, something to eat. Students who walk to school received gloves and hats.

• Fike High School students used their voices to spread good cheer when they visited Curis Nursing Facility to sing Christmas carols.

• Members of the Elm City Middle School Junior Optimist International Club led a drive to collect 365 canned goods for The Salvation Army.