Thanks to a generous donation from Elgin Meijer in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, more than 300 students at Washington Elementary enjoyed an all-school winter wonderland celebration.
The best part - it was all a surprise.
“This is the best day ever!” shouted 4th grader Elijah Lewis.
In the third year of the "Meijer Gives" program, the Elgin Meijer store donated $10,000 for treats, holiday gifts and games. The students even got to say hello to a special guest in a red suit with gifts at hand, who sat in a rocking chair at the front of the lunchroom.
“I thought that we were coming down here for a talk or something,” said 6th grader Johnnie Dobson, amidst the school’s cafeteria, decorated with holiday balloons, garland, and lights. “I don’t think anyone here was expecting this.”
Elgin Meijer store Director Cory Cole and his team had the goal of spreading the holiday spirit to students who need it the most. Cole worked closely with the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin to sponsor the celebration; the Boys and Girls Club offers after-school care at Washington. But all students received holiday gifts.
“It’s very good to see the Christmas joy, just the smile on the kids' faces,” said Cole. “It makes us feel good to be able to enrich the lives of the communities we serve. That’s very important to us.”
With winter spirit week underway, nearly all students wore holiday pajamas as each grade, starting with kindergarten students, made their way to the party. The students each took home a stocking full of toys, a book, a coloring book and crayons, and were treated to holiday cookies while seasonal music played through speakers.
Washington Principal Lori Brandes said she appreciates the school’s long-standing relationship with Meijer and the Boys and Girls Club.
“Sometimes we don’t realize how excited kids can be for Christmas,” said Brandes. “But when you get a large group of students, and their energy feeds off of each other, it is truly great to see the impact of these kind gestures.”
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