The holiday spirit filled the halls of Lincoln Elementary Thursday as each student received gifts donated by Utahns from across the state.
The 550 students there each received two gifts: a "need" and a "want." The residents of five Utah counties — Salt Lake, Tooele, Carbon, Washington and Iron — purchased the gifts, which were listed on handmade ornaments the students crafted and were hung in the lobbies of HeritageWest and SouthWest Community Credit Unions, along with staff and volunteers from the credit unions.
Lincoln Elementary is a Title I school where 96 percent of the students live below the poverty line and 19 different languages are spoken. Some of the students requested "need" gifts included food, socks, pillows, blankets, shoes, pencils and pens, and some of the "want" gifts included action figures, footballs, LEGOs, dolls and digital games.
"The concept is going to keep going on and on because of community goodwill," said Jan Hemming, spokeswoman for HeritageWest Credit Union, who said this is the 17th year of the event at Lincoln. "Those kids need to see that the community cares about them and that they’re important to us. It’s a way to share the joy of the season."
The credit unions also help about a dozen families from the school each year with basic necessities.
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