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Families Helping Families at Summerdale Early Childhood Center

staff distributing gifts

Each year I organize a wonderful program called Families Helping Families at Summerdale Early Childhood Center.

This program is near and dear to our hearts at Summerdale, because it helps families who may need an additional hand during the holiday season. The program began when the early childhood program moved to Summerdale, and its been helping make families' holidays bright for more than 10 years.

Together with friends, families and Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, the program is helping 335 Summerdale students this year.

The church bought gifts for 40 students, and Summerdale staff together with their friends and family bought gifts for the remaining students.

We organize this program because we know the holidays can be tough for many of our families, and we want to help them spread holiday cheer to their little ones. Each year before Thanksgiving, we send a letter home to each of our families and invite them to be part of the program. The form they fill out has a spot for them to list their child's clothing size and a toy they want or would enjoy for Christmas. Each child who signs up receives an outfit and a toy. Many times extra clothing (like coats, socks and underwear) is also provided. The toys range from puzzles, educational toys, cars, trucks, blocks, dolls and even princess or castle play tents.

It is really something special each year to see the room fill with gifts for our amazing kiddos. Our helpers love shopping and ask each year to be part of this program. Being able to build community through giving and seeing the misty eyes of our donors as they realize the impact they are making for families during the holidays is a special treat.

Kelli Girardin

Kelli Girardin

Kelli Girardin is a teacher at Summerdale Early Childhood Center.

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