Somersfield Academy gives for Christmas
A school has collected hundreds of Christmas presents for children and families less fortunate than themselves.
Somersfield Academy M4 pupils donated more than $2,000 worth of toys and essential items for children of all ages to the Coalition for the Protection of Children.
The gifts, packaged into about 30 gift-wrapped boxes, will be delivered to families in need.
Naomi Every, 14, said: “I feel like it’s just a good thing to help the community and realise how thankful we should be for everything that we have.”
The Christmas drive was organised as a competition between the two school houses, the Makos and the Tigers, to see who could donate the most presents.
Naomi, a Tiger house captain, said that she and other house captains encouraged pupils and teachers from the senior school-grade levels to donate several small gifts and include their name and school team.
She admitted that it was difficult to coordinate the year levels and maintain Covid-19 safety regulations, but added that it helped the team leaders build their communication skills.
Naomi said: “We can’t really mix bubbles so we had to talk on the phone and make sure people heard us when we gave announcements.
“We had to be aware of our bubbles and how we could stay separated but at the same time find a way to bring everything together so that it would all work out.”
Each box contained gifts that targeted a child by gender, such as toy cars or dolls.
Toiletries and other essential items were also included for use by the whole family.
Zenji Washington, 14, another Tiger house captain, said it was important to help families who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic and might find it difficult to afford a good Christmas.
Zenji said that she tried to buy gifts for children of all ages and tried what each demographic would enjoy the most.
She added that she and many of her co-captains enjoyed buying gifts aimed at girls around their age.
Zenji said: “I thought ’if I was a seven-year-old girl what would I want’ and then picked what I would like at the store.”
Cameron Pimentel, 14, said the Christmas drive was also a great way to bring the school together and give back.
He added that he had participated in many school charity events in the past, but added that this was the first one he helped to lead.
Cameron added: “Collaborating with all of the youth groups was a big thing that I really enjoyed.”
Kate Sweeney, a chemistry teacher who helped coordinate the event, said that the presents would be collected by CPC today for distribution before Christmas.
She added that the youngsters planned to help around 20 children at first but had surpassed their goal.
Ms Sweeney said: “These students care – they’re giving up their lunchtime to pack because they want to help.
“We want to make families who are less fortunate and have struggled through this difficult year know that people care about them.”