BY ABBY SLANKER
Hilltop Elementary School students went on a holiday shopping spree Dec. 8-9 at the school’s annual PTO-sponsored Santa’s Workshop. The “store” was set up in the school’s library and is designed to be a safe, child-centered environment where children can learn how to budget and spend wisely, while they also experience “the gift of giving.”
The students received a form about a week before Santa’s Workshop that allowed them and their parents to make a list of each person they would like to buy for and create a budget.
Gifts available for purchase included holiday items, jewelry, ornaments, sports memorabilia, tools, Canfield Cardinals merchandise and baby items. Items were also available for students’ pets. Prices of items ran from 25 cents to $5.50.
After the children made their purchases, they were directed to the wrapping table where several PTO volunteers wrapped and labeled the gifts for the children.
Several volunteer members of the PTO shop year-round for items the students can buy, which gives the students the opportunity to pick out their own inexpensive, high-quality gifts for family and friends. The year-round shopping process, which focuses on buying items at deeply discounted prices, was started four years ago to be able provide the students desirable gifts as an alternative to ordering all the items from one company.
Karin Hudock served as chairperson of this year’s Santa’s Workshop. More than 80 volunteers were involved in this year’s workshop, performing such tasks as buying the items, organizing and pricing the items, setting up the workshop, helping the children shop, wrapping the children’s gifts and cleaning up after the workshop is over.
So no students will be left out of the shopping experience, the PTO donated Santa Dollars to any student who cannot shop due to their economic means.
When asked if she was going to save her gifts to give to her family on Christmas morning, one student said, “No! I am going to give them to everyone today! I am so excited about what I bought my family, I can’t wait until Christmas to give them to them!”