Giving Tree, Giving Menorah Bring Cheer for Local Children
Each November, lighted holiday trees and a festive menorah appear in the lobby of the Winslow Building, decorated with hundreds of gift tags for needy children served by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and local non-profits. The Giving Tree and Giving Menorah program enables Shore families to purchase presents and donate cold-weather necessities such as coats and boots for children who might otherwise not receive anything during the holiday season.
"We love being able to partner with local agencies to spread holiday cheer," says Shore parent and one of this year's co-organizers, Michelle Langille. "This season we'll be helping nearly 400 children, for whom the gift from Shore might be the only one they receive."
Students from every grade are excited to visit the Giving Trees and Menorah, where they carefully consider gift tags printed with the first name, age, and wished-for item of a child. The program serves children of all ages, from preschoolers to teenagers, so Shore students are able to provide a gift for a child their own age. "Identifying with a boy or girl their own age—maybe even someone who wishes for the same holiday gift they do—really helps young students understand why giving is so important," says Pre-K teacher Beth White.
When students drop off their gift-bagged presents and clothing items, parent volunteers such as co-organizer Sarah Campbell whisk it to a large staging area below Shore's Dining Hall. "We call it Santa's workshop," says Campbell. Parent "elves" then carefully inspect and sort all gifts received, ensuring they reach the intended child. They also go through donated winter clothes and surplus toys, ensuring they find a child recipient.
In addition to the DCF, local agencies whose clients benefit from this year's Giving Tree and Menorah program include Beverly Bootstraps, the Beverly Children's Learning Center, and Salem's Plummer Home.