Last week the students at Bursley elementary had their turn, entering a school gymnasium that had been transformed into a virtual mall by hard-working parent “elves.” With gifts ranging from 25¢ to $5, students could shop at a comfortable price point, all the while participating in the joy that comes from giving.
Jen Postema, Bursley parent and mother of four, heads up the Santa Sale, and says the months of shopping and storing goodies is all worth it when she sees little faces light up.
“This is all for the kids — there are just so many students in our school who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford Christmas gifts. It’s awesome to see them enjoy the experience.”
Working roughly seven months out of the year with help from her co-chair, Tara Manciu, these women begin shopping right away on December 27 to scrounge up the best after-Christmas deals on goodies that might otherwise be priced from $30-$40 in department stores. At Bursley, a school of 450 students, deluxe items like bamboo cheese boards and bubbling foot soakers waited to be snatched up for dimes on the dollar.
“I love watching the kids and seeing the excitement that they have. A few years ago we sent out a questionnaire to parents and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. Parents love this. It’s nice that kids can get good items for a great price,” said Tara.
Volunteers help children shop, pay for items, and then ensure that everything gets wrapped and labeled for a true “Secret Santa” delivery. Jen Postema notes that more volunteers are needed for next year, however, with growing class sizes and more kids shopping. There is even talk of re-structuring Santa’s Sale to accommodate the increased foot-traffic and immensity of the undertaking.
In true Christmas charity,Bursley’s Parent Club, who sponsors the event, wants to make certain that all students who want to shop are able to do so. Working closely with Principal Rané Garcia, the parent club was able to set aside $500 in scholarship money this year which was distributed confidentially through the school office.
If you are the recipient of a Santa Sale item this Christmas, will you take the time to thank your child’s parent club for all their hard work? Their efforts help to promote generosity and thoughtfulness in your child and in the hearts of hundreds of students in Jenison Public Schools each year.