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Schools' annual gift exchange for less fortunate in 22nd year

Friday, December 14, 2018

By Amanda Tonoli

An annual gift exchange for the less fortunate reached its 22nd year Thursday morning.

Springfield Intermediate School and Crestview Middle School had their annual holiday gift exchange, which benefits families in need in both communities.

Both schools collected new, unwrapped gifts to give to families in need for the holiday season.

The gifts Springfield Intermediate School collects are given to families in need in the Crestview community, and the gifts Crestview Middle School collects are given to families in need in the Springfield community.

Gifts include stuffed animals, board games, school supplies, winter clothing items, nonperishable food items and more.

Melanie Workman, Springfield guidance counselor, said she and her husband, Scott Workman, a former guidance counselor at Crestview, started the exchange 22 years ago when it was apparent that there was a need.

“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat to collect for each others’ needy families?’” Workman remembers.

Throughout the years, close to 20,000 gifts have been given to families.

“We give to needy families so that they can have a Christmas,” Workman said.

Matt Evans, Crestview special-education teacher and event co-coordinator, said it’s truly a great program.

“The kids get excited every year for it,” he said. “It’s great for the kids to get experience and to know you’re helping other people – not just in your community but for others’ [communities].”

The best part is that students collect gifts for people they don’t know, and they aren’t connected to them.

“It’s selflessness,” Evans said.

Those selfless students look forward to the exchange every year.

“There’s a lot of ugly in this world, and this is a good way to bring some light and good feelings in around the holiday,” Evans said. “To be able to help both communities and get the kids involved is rewarding. It’s awesome that they care.”

Cade Hancox, a Crestview eighth-grader, said he thinks the exchange is great – especially around the holidays.

“Most kids are not as fortunate as some kids who go to my school,” he said. “We always bring a lot of gifts. ... I’m hoping Springfield [students] got as much or more for the people who need them.”