Edmonds hosts Christmas store for students

Melissa Curtis sorts through some of the donated goods that students at Edmonds school will be able to
Melissa Curtis sorts through some of the donated goods that students at Edmonds school will be able to 'shop' for gifts for their families.

Students at Edmonds Community School don't often get to give as much as they receive at Christmastime.

This year, the school is hoping to change that.

The inner-city school put out a call to other schools and the Burnaby school district offices for donations of items, both new and gently used, that could be used to stock a Christmas "store."

The response was "very overwhelming," said Melissa Curtis, who teaches grades 1, 2 and 3 at Edmonds.

They've received enough goods to cover the floor of half a classroom, she said. This week, students will get to choose gifts for their parents and siblings and get some help giftwrapping them.

Curtis got the idea for the project after reading in the New Westminster NewsLeader about a similar initiative in that city last year.

"Our families here don't get a whole lot, survival is the big challenge for them."

She said in the past she had students make presents for family members. "I've seen them get so excited at the prospect of being able to give instead of always being the ones to get."

The Christmas store is "just taking it to another level."

Curtis noted that many families benefit from the Burnaby Christmas Bureau, but usually that means gifts just for the children. The Christmas store will be a chance for the kids to make sure their parents get something too.

Donations have ranged from housewares, toys, candles, picture frames, ties and books, to DVD and CD players, and even a large antique mirror on a stand. The student leadership team at Burnaby Mountain secondary has also been collecting toys to donate to the project.

Edmonds school always accepts donations of children's clothing, shoes and winter gear, but none of that will go into the store which is dedicated to "that something extra" for parents and siblings.

Teachers will use the project to teach students about the importance of giving.

When Curtis gave her class the news about the store, they were "very excited, big cheers, clapping. Some of them are being very thoughtful, they wanted to wait until [the next day] to let us know who they want to shop for.

"They'll get to experience the pride and joy of being able to select a gift and see the joy it brings other people. They don't often get to experience that so it's a sense of pride for them."

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