Christmas comes early for some Lincoln Elementary families
Posted Dec 06, 2021 6:01 AM
By CRISTINA JANNEY
Akin and Olubukola Ogunsakin moved to Hays from Nigeria six months ago so Olubukola could work at Hays Med as a nurse.
Their children, two boys and a girl, don't have coats, scarves, hats or gloves. They didn't need those clothing items living in Africa.
They took advantage of a clothing and toy giveaway Tuesday at Lincoln Elementary School to find some of theses items for their children.
"It's in the spirit of Christmas," Olubukola said. "I think it is a very good thing. We have this gift, and we are happy to be here."
She said the family loves Hays. The community focuses on family and is not crowded or rough, she said.
Marla and Shelby Waterhouse also picked out gifts and clothing for their son and daughter.
"It means a lot," Marla said. "The kids grow fast. It's hard to keep them in clothes. We bought a bunch at the first of school and now half of them don't fit any more."
More than 20 families with 34 children were assisted through the event. The staff at Lincoln reached out through CarePortal and local churches donated new toys and new or gently used clothing for the children.
More than $2,000 in monetary donations were also given.
The families were able to chose a toy for each child in the family and up to seven clothing items.
Volunteers both worked before the event to sort items and during the event to help families find and box their items. An interpreter was on hand to help parents whose native language is Spanish.
Daphne Brown, Lincoln counselor, said the need for these items is great. Lincoln has the highest rate of low-income students among the elementary schools in the Hays district.
"I had a student come to school with only one shoe," she said. "I keep things in my office for those instances, but I can't handle it all. This helps."
Kerri Lacy, principal, said conducting this event is part of the school's larger school redesign, which focus on improving family and community partnerships with the school.
"One thing we have learned is in order to increase the success of our students is to recognize the importance of educating the 'whole student,' and this may not always mean core instruction is first," she said. "For instance, if a child is hungry or worried about where they will sleep at night, there is no way they will be successful in school that day.
"Families everywhere are struggling, and if we can help ease some of that stress and build relationships, our students will be more successful than ever before.
"Building the partnerships with community businesses and resources makes this a more achievable goal for everyone. The Hays community really pulled through with this project. The donations and support we received made this event possible"
Lacy said the families have expressed their gratitude for the event.
"The response we had was just awesome as far as the comments that we hear and [the families] thanking us," she said. "We're just happy to do it."