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Volunteers, donations needed for elementary school Penguin Patch Holiday Shoppe

By Lauri Heraty
Special to The SUN

Pagosa Springs Elementary School needs your help.

We are holding our second annual Penguin Patch Holiday Shoppe at the school during the week of Dec. 10-14.

The Shoppe is stocked full of inexpensive personalized items for moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Students come in by class with a shopping list and a budget ready. They have 25 minutes to find special items for their family members.

It is a great opportunity for the kids to embrace “giving” (as opposed to “getting”) for the holiday season, as well as to learn about shopping budgets. The excitement on their faces when they enter the Shoppe is beyond description.

Our goal is to have eight volunteers available to assist each class. Volunteers will walk two to three kids through the Shoppe, helping them fill their lists. We have a wrapping station where presents are gift-bagged and labeled. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of organized coordination. It works like clockwork when we have plenty of volunteers; it’s a struggle when we are shorthanded. We need 160 volunteers at various times during the week.

Last year, we had volunteers from the Chamber, Rotary and the Realtor Association. This year, we need more organizations to join us. Volunteering is a one- to two-hour commitment during the week. Of course, some of our volunteers enjoyed shopping with the kids so much they signed up for multiple time slots. Some of our volunteers simply sat at the wrapping table and wrapped (and wrapped, and wrapped … ).

We received generous donations from the community last year to assist 130-plus low income kids to shop for their families.

How you can help:

• Volunteer for a two-hour shift (or more) during the week of Dec. 10-14. See our online signup at www.PagosaPIE.com or www.signupgenius.com/go/904094EAFA7229-penguin1.

• E-mail Lauri Heraty at heraty@frontier.net or call Lauri at 946-7347.

• Donate $10-$20 or more to assist our low income kids with shopping. Sixty-seven percent of our students are on free or reduced lunch, so we hope to raise $1,000 to help these kids (sounds like a lot, but it’s just $25 per classroom). Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/1fc3vo; a check written to Pagosa Springs Elementary School can be dropped off at school, at The Pagosa Source Real Estate (across from the Humane Society Thrift Store), or mailed to Pagosa Springs Elementary, Attn: PIE, P.O. Box 1498, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Check memo line needs to say: “Holiday Shoppe.”

Come lend a hand: It really is fun to shop with the kiddos.

This story was posted on November 29, 2012.