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Students Learn the Importance of Giving During the Holiday Season

 By: Debbie Hunter, School Counselor

Generosity is a trait that is best learned by doing, not just talking. That’s just what the students, their families, and staff do at Brinson Memorial Elementary School (BME) each Christmas season. The school likes to call it “The Twelve Days of Giving.”

This annual event gives Brinson families the opportunity to practice generosity and help others in our community in a variety of ways.  Each morning for 12 days leading up to the holiday break, students and staff bring in specified items to school.  Those items are collected by the members of the school’s Kindness and Compassion Club (KC Club). The KC Club is comprised of 4th and 5th grade students who applied to be part of this group. They were selected based on their ideas about making the school and community a better place to attend school and live. Many other activities are planned for this year, but the 12 Days of Giving is one of their favorites.   Alex Stengele of the KC Club said, “I really like that we do more than just a food drive.” That’s a good point because this activity impacts many agencies in our community.

In total, Brinson Memorial collected over 2000 items that have been donated to various organizations. Nonperishable food was brought in for Township 7 Fire Department Auxiliary who in turn shares that food with families in our community. Colonial Capital Humane Society needs many things one of which is paper towels to assist with clean up, so the school collected lots of paper towels.  The Women’s Shelter provides stockings for the children who are not able to stay in their home over the holiday, so the school collects stocking stuffers for them.  Religious Community Services seems to be in need of food so peanut butter was an item collected to help stock their food pantry. Many of our area veterans live at the Veteran’s Home in Kinston.  Those folks enjoy snacks just like the students do so snack foods for also collected and sent to them for their canteen.  Reviving Lives Ministry works with clients trying to overcome addiction and they also enjoy a cup of coffee. Thanks to the donations received they have plenty of coffee now.  Lastly, the school nurse is often in need of items for BME students so one of the drives assisted her by collecting cough drops and underclothes as well.

Once items are collected the KC Club helped sort and package the donations so they could be delivered. Andrew Walker of the KC Club liked picking the items up from the classrooms each day.   Caroline Smith, another KC Club member, said it made her feel good inside to help those who really need it. It’s a lot of work but the feeling you get is worth it. The families at Brinson come through every year to show the students at BME that Christmas is so much more than thinking about what you will get, it’s about what we can give that makes the holiday meaningful.