Elizabethtown It’s a secret society that members are hoping to get the entire community involved in.
Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School teachers Sarah Rice and Kaitlin Fielder helped organize the ELCS Secret Santa Society to help provide presents for students in grades 7-12 for the past two years, after Essex County Toys for Kids had to cut back on who they were able to help.
“All school-age kids are deserving of attention during the holidays,” Fielder said. “We have had more than 50 kids in grades 7-12 that we have helped out. They had younger siblings who were still receiving the gifts and it’s sad when there is so much going on and anyone has to feel left out.”
Now, the society is asking for community help to help in its third year of being able to sponsor the toy drive through donations from faculty and staff at the school.
“A lot of times people might not contribute because they are not asked directly, and this is us asking directly,” Rice said. “Our staff is smaller and our need is even greater.”
“The staff has always been amazing, but we are just not able to do this ourselves any more,” Fielder said.
Rice said that the Secret Santa Society is not a school program, but was started by the teachers because they “have a closer perspective to the needs of these students.”
“Nothing is too small and 100 percent of the donations go to help these children,” Fielder said.
There will be drop areas for toys at both Adirondack Auto locations in Elizabethtown as well as the Egglefield Ford locations in Elizabethtown and Ray Brook. People can also make donations by sending checks to the Secret Santa Society care of Lauri Cutting.
Donations need to be in by Dec. 14.
“This will give us time to pick up and wrap all of the presents,” Rice said. “We usually distribute them a day or two before they go on the Christmas vacation break.”
“The benefits of the program are obvious,” Rice said. “The students wear the clothing until it is tattered, new backpacks carry their textbooks, school supplies show up immediately in our classrooms and conversations at lunch are about their new toys.”
More information can also be found by contacting either Rice (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Fielder (email@example.com).