Students pitch in to make Christmas merry
De Soto schools have chipped in again this year in an attempt to make Christmas special for all in the community.
"They (the schools) are one of our biggest supporters," said Jodi Hitchcock, director of the De Soto Multi-Service Center. "My pantry looks pretty good right now thanks to the high schools and Lexington Trails (Middle School)."
Students in the district contributed more than the food that the schools have gathered during Christmas and Thanksgiving drives, Hitchcock said. Monday, baby supplies Lexington Trails students collected for the Johnson County Public Health's pre-natal and post-natal visitation program were delivered to the Multi-Service Center Monday.
"We checked with Jodi and she told us there was a need for baby items," said sixth-grade math teacher and drive coordinator Karen Hurla. "This school has brought in a classroom full of baby items. We brought in more than 200 items."
Students collected blankets, clothes, bottles, baby food and other items the first two weeks of December, Hurla said.
"I was really surprised," she said. "It was a little scary the first Monday, but I think kids forgot over the weekend. After that first day, it's been really amazing."
Sixth-grader Roxanne Grizzle said she donated clothes toys and bottles. Some were used by herself and her eight brothers and sisters, she said, but others were new.
"I wanted to help kids around the area," she said.
Sixth-grader Culin O'Neill said the same spirit motivated him, but he admitted a pizza party promised the classroom contributing the most baby items helped. Unfortunately for him, that honor went to Hurla's classroom.
Starside Elementary counselor Paula Henderson said students at the school collected $500. The money will be used to adopt to area families this Christmas, she said.
The school's goal was to collect $1 per student. A fourth-grade bake sale last week provided "the little boost we needed," she said.
"We talked about (how) $1 couldn't do much, but put together, they could do a whole lot," Henderson said.
A "Just Like Me" toy drive at Mize Elementary provided the Multi-Service Center with a Santa sleigh full of toys. Students were asked to donate toys they would like to receive. More than 200 toy were donated.
Hitchcock said the community business and individuals responded generously this year. Those who would like to make last-minute contributions call visit the center at the Community Center or call Hitchcock at 583-1152.