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Little Flower Students help out with Project Joy

By Staff | Dec 19, 2008

Little Flower School fourth grader Jacob Blessum spent an afternoon shopping at Pamida so when kids wake up on Christmas morning they will have something to open.

Jacob, joined by his six classmates, their teacher, Mrs. Nancy Graner, and a few of the kids’ moms, were filling their shopping carts for the Lions Club Project Joy.

The students, Blessum, Hannah Hoffert, Matty Koenig, Keaton Larson, Jazlyn Brossart, Kari Fritel and Shawn Schaan, zig-zagged around Pamida one afternoon earlier this month searching for the perfect gifts for the people on their tags. They were joined by moms Jessica Brossart, Glory Koenig and Melissa Fritel.

The youngsters were especially keen on shopping for kids, perhaps because they realize how disappointing it would be to wake up on Christmas morning with nothing to open.

Students Hoffert and Koenig teamed up to fill their shopping cart and spent a good deal of their time in the toy section shopping for children of all ages.

“This is really fun,” Hannah said. “We just want to find what they want, and if they are really young we want to try to get them everything they want.”

Their teacher, Nancy Graner said she has just seven students in her class, and they are such a great group that she brought them all out to shop this year. She said the trip can be a real eye opener for them.

“I think the main thing they gain from it is more of an appreciation for what they have and for what little some people have,” Graner said. “At this age, kids often don’t realize there are people out there with very little.”

The group had just over $400 to spend, which prompted them to try to stick to a specific budget for each person.

“What I see is that the kids really want to please as many people as possible with the money they have and take as many tags as they possibly can,” she added. “So they have to think about what they are able to spend on one person in order to leave enough money to maybe go get one more tag from the tree.”

Students Larson and Brossart spent some time gazing at the wall of board games, trying to decide just how much they could spend to fulfill their tags.

“I like helping others. Plus, we’re getting out of school work,” Larson said with a big grin on his face.

Brossart agreed that it’s great to get out of school work and added that she likes to help people have a good Christmas, too.

Project Joy is a community program that works in conjunction with Pierce County Social Services clients to make sure those less fortunate have a brighter Christmas. This year, 141 request tags were placed on trees at Pamida and Borth’s Department Store. Community members were invited to take the tags from the trees and purchase gifts.

In past years, many groups of youngsters such as students from Ely Elementary and the Girl Scouts have organized shopping trips for Project Joy. This year Ely Elementary students collected approximately $350 to donate toward the project.

Gifts are gathered and sorted by Lions Club members and distributed just in time for Christmas. Through the generosity of community members and organizations, this year’s program helped 71 households.

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