Community Christmas Card gives to students, schools throughout the year

November 27, 2018

BATH — If a child arrives at Jefferson Elementary School on a cold, winter morning with no coat, the forecast is very good that he or she will leave in the afternoon with a warm jacket because of the generosity of community members who gave to projects such as the Aiken Standard’s Community Christmas Card.

It might be shoes or socks or gloves or a book bag – whatever the need, Erika Smith, the school counselor, can meet it immediately with help from churches, community groups and individuals who give, recognizing the importance of keeping children focused on their educations and not trying to stay warm.

Jefferson Elementary is one of the Aiken County Public Schools that received funds from the Community Christmas Card last year. With some of the money, Smith was able to stock the school’s clothes closet with sizes that fit children from kindergarten to fifth grade.

“We’re very fortunate because we have so many resources available to us because of donations such as the Community Christmas Card, local churches and other groups,” Smith said. “It’s just so hard for students to focus on learning if their basic needs aren’t being met.

“Without funds like this, our students would have bigger things on their minds than their daily math work or a spelling test and learning to read. These kinds of donations, which we’re very blessed to receive here at Jefferson, just mean so much to the faculty, our students and their families.”

At Jefferson, the clothes closet is filled with racks of lighter jackets and winter coats and shelves of gloves, socks, underwear, hats and shoes arranged neatly by size.

“When we have a student who has an immediate need – they’re coming to school on a morning that’s 30 degrees and they have no jacket to wear or maybe they come in shoes or other clothes that aren’t quite appropriate for the weather – we’re able to meet that need,” Smith said. “It might be, too, that a jacket tore or a shoe broke. We’re able to step up and take care of that need so the students can focus on learning, which is why they’re here.”

Recently, a young student had a shoe with a broken sole.

“The shoe was flopping around in the hall, and the student was trying to walk and was struggling, but because of donations like this, I was able to go straight to my clothes closet and take care of it,” Smith said. “We receive donations at Christmas, but the needs are there all year long whether it’s a coat or school supplies. It’s awesome to be able to help meet those needs all year because of the generosity of our community.”

Just a small $1 donation to the Aiken Standard’s Community Christmas Card can help keep Jefferson Elementary’s clothes closet stocked and other Aiken County Public Schools take care of their students until the end of the school year.

For each $1 gift received, the Aiken Standard will publish the contributor’s name in the Christmas Day issue of the newspaper.

To make a contribution online, visit tinyurl.com/2018donateaiken. Online contributors should include their names and list the names of their honorees in the comments section on the site.

Companies and businesses may also contribute in honor of employees.

To make a contribution by mail, please legibly write the names to sign on the Community Christmas Card along with at least $1 per name and mail to the Aiken Standard at 326 Rutland Drive, Aiken, South Carolina 29801.

To put the donation on your credit or debit card, call the Aiken Standard between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 803-648-2311.

The deadline to give is Dec. 14.

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