Seventh graders raise funds to buy gifts
December 10, 2015
On Tuesday, students in Tina Merz's seventh grade elective class traveled to Longview to do a little, scratch that, a lot of shopping for the STARS program, which makes Christmas possible for local families in need.
STARS is a non-profit program sponsored by the Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Office. The program was set up to help local families who are struggling by providing gifts for their children at Christmas. Paper stars, each inscribed with a personal wish list were placed on trees at several businesses in Cathlamet and Skamokawa, waiting to be selected by someone who wanted to give.
The students have been learning about fundraising as a community activity this quarter. They raised the money for this shopping trip by organizing a bake sale and by asking local businesses to sponsor jail breaks during a Dodge Ball Tournament.
The bake sale netted a little more than $300. Sponsors came up with $900 more for the Dodge Ball Tournament. The budget for Tuesday's shopping trip was $1223.93.
Tina Merz was visibly moved, tearing up as she talked about it.
The class had lunched at McDonalds before heading over to Walmart. A Walmart greeter led the students in a Christmas Carol as Merz finished up some last minute organization. The students broke up into groups of three, carrying wish lists in the shape of stars, and went their way, crossing the desired items off, one by one.
Merz spoke to a manager, who offered a 10 percent discount for the students that day.
"Our family benefitted from the STARS program in the past," said the parent of one of the students. "This year is the first time we're able to contribute and my boy is thrilled."
This is the second time the students were able to experience a real payoff for their efforts, the joy of giving. Earlier this quarter, they were able to raise $400 with a Kiss the Donkey event. The money was used to provide holiday meals at a local food bank.
Editor's note: Today (Thursday) is the last day to pick up a star at Bank of the Pacific, Bank of America, the Cathlamet Pharmacy, the Duck Inn, or the Skamokawa Store.