1,300 Wichita Falls ISD students are going home with an early Christmas present. The University Kiwanis Club is helping children in need and providing them with some gifts. This year a new school was added to the list. Newschannel 6 was at Washington Jackson Elementary where all the kids were so excited to participate for the first time.
Santa handed out a gift bag to every child and inside each bag were some basic necessities. Deneka Johnson, Social Worker with Washington Jackson says 94 percent of their students are considered at risk.
Washington Jackson Elementary students were so exited to receive their gifts, and deciding whether to open their them now or wait was on everyone's mind.
The majority of the students come from various economic disadvantaged homes. Johnson comments, "There is always a lot of needs. Kids come into school and don't have school clothes. They don't have shoes or socks. Those are basic things they really need to have. If they don't have those things it's really hard for them to focus on school."
University Kiwanis has been a blessing for Washington Jackson. Johnson says, "I see holey shoes throughout the year and we get a couple of donors do give us some shoes throughout the year. But no one has ever given us this much for our children." University Kiwanis raised nearly $80,000 this year, just to provide an early Christmas gift to needy elementary students from Alamo, Sam Houston, and for the first time Washington Jackson.
Julie Colbert with University Kiwanis says, "We purchase the shoes form Walmart. Walmart gives donations of shocks. We also provided a hygiene kit with a toothbrush and a book that each child has picked out." Every student had a smile on their face Johnson said. "Seeing them here getting the presents, they are so happy about it and it just fills my heart with gladness."
The event was a success. To show their appreciation Washington Jackson teachers and staff will be volunteering at University Kiwanis's annual pancake festival.
University Kiwanis tells Newschannel 6 to make their shoe donation event possible they do the majority of their fundraising at the their annual pancake festival. That takes place the last Saturday in January.