By jeanne starmack
Clutching $5, sometimes $10 bills in their hands, Struthers Elementary School students ogled an array of items Friday while doing their Christmas shopping at Santa’s Workshop.
Most times, the “workshop” is the stage above the cafeteria at the school. Once a year, however, the PTA turns the stage into a store for a week, and students shop there for presents.
All items, provided by the PTA, cost a buck each. The kindergarten classes had just finished their shopping Friday, and some older children who’d missed their turns earlier in the week were making the rounds.
There were plenty of gifts from which to choose, including gloves, socks, calendars, bubble bath, puzzle books, toys, earphones and screwdrivers. There were even selections for four-legged members of the family.
Second-grader Tyler Sanchez was just finishing up her shopping with help from a PTA volunteer, one of several who helped the children pick out their gifts.
“I already bought everything!” she boasted as she got ready to go to the cashier.
She’d purchased a bottle of nail polish for her mother, a screwdriver for her dad, finger lasers for one brother and a whoopie cushion for another.
Would he use the whoopie cushion to torment her? She seemed amused rather than alarmed by the idea.
Cara Johnston, a PTA volunteer and the mother of first-grader Carley, said each child is allowed to choose up to 10 gifts from the store.
The store is stocked by the PTA, which scours dollar stores for suitable items.
The store doesn’t make money — it’s pretty much just trading dollars. But the kids have fun, said PTA trustee and “store” cashier Nicole Sakara.
Replenishing inventory for Santa’s Workshop takes a lot of trips to the dollar stores. Of the school’s 750 students, most of them spend $10, Sakara said. Some inventory will be left for next year.
“It’s a lot of work for the PTA,” Johnston said.