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West Jordan Journal

Hundreds of Jordan District students in need receive shopping spree thanks to caring community

Feb 09, 2024 04:04PM ● By Julie Slama

Miss Riverton Haylee Lamb and Miss Herriman Scarlet Lankford help a Jordan School District student with shopping during Jordan Education Foundation’s “Christmas for Kids.” (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Shortly before the winter break, more than 600 Jordan School District middle school and high school students were picking out items at the South Jordan Walmart.

Through donations given to the Jordan Education Foundation, they were able to “shop” for their own presents as part of “Christmas for Kids,” but often, they found ones for others. 

Many of the students were excited at the opportunity. 

Evan, a middle school student who wished to withhold his surname, said he was shopping for his friends and family.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever done this; I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I could get them,” he said.

A volunteer or two were paired up with each student. This year, there were first responders, educational and community leaders, Miss Herriman and Miss Riverton, University of Utah’s and Brigham Young University’s mascots and Santa Claus — as well as community members.

Local parent Laurel Bevans was with Evan.

“I have seven kids in the District and I want to make sure all the children in the district get a good Christmas,” she said, explaining why she volunteered.

Veronica, a middle school student who withheld her surname, was looking at paint supplies and Squishmallows.

“I like to paint flowers and I want to give my parents one of my paintings for Christmas,” she said. “I’m looking at 

Squishmallows, too. I’d like to collect them like my friends.”

Volunteers Michaela and Juan Larrosa accompanied her.

“It’s nice to help out and provide Christmas to students,” Michaela Larrosa said, adding she learned of the opportunity as her sister is a teacher in the district.

Jordan Board of Education President Tracy Miller is also on the Jordan Education Foundation Board of Directors.

“We probably have 800 volunteers,” she said. “I love this. It gets me in the Christmas spirit. It’s the highlight of the season to see all these happy kids with happy chaperones. Often there are toy drives and Sub for Santas for little kids, but sometimes these middle school and high school kids are hard to shop for, so this is cool to let them come and have their own shopping experience. And because we have such a great community and people who are willing to volunteer, we’re able to provide this to so many great kids.”

She said that the program helps students in addition to the Foundation providing food, clothes, beds, school supplies, hygiene items and other items for those in need. 

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I’m not really shopping for me. For me, it’s pretty nice to actually get presents for my siblings. I got them some toys and clothes. That’s present enough for me. We usually don’t get presents.”

Former Foundation president and South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey has served on the board for 12 years and “I could not be more proud to be part of the Jordan Education Foundation.”

She said Christmas for Kids is one of her favorite events of the year.

“It brings out the best of people as we all work together to make life a little sweeter for these amazing students,” she said. “As a Foundation, we work hard all year to try to make this event a success. Thank you to the donors, volunteers, administrators from every Jordan School District middle and high school, the parents. students and our Foundation staff and volunteer board for making our 10th anniversary event the biggest and best yet.” . λ