If you visited Target in Montgomeryville on the morning of Dec. 3, you may have seen “Santa’s Little Helpers” in action.
Twenty members of the Worcester Elementary Student Council visited the Target store at 125 Witchwood Drive on their fifth-annual shopping trip for Methacton School families in need.
The students, working in teams with volunteer parents, searched the entire store to collect home necessities and wish-list items for the Methacton families.
Also joining them were Worcester Elementary student council’s co-advisors Stephanie Cohen and Regina Shanaman.
“It gives them ownership,” Cohen, said explaining the reason behind the trip. “They can say, ‘I did my part to help my community.’”
She explained that the Worcester Elementary student council got the idea from the student council members at Arrowhead Elementary School, who, five years ago, took a similar trip to Walmart.
The Worcester Student Council consists of third-and fourth-grade students, ages 8-10-years-old. Each student represents one classroom of all the grades at the elementary school, and regularly meets as a group.
At the most recent meeting, Cohen and Shanaman helped the students further understand the reason for the trip, discussing with them concepts of loss, illness or crisis that may face some families in the school district, who are their neighbors.
According to Shanaman, the school district provides the names of families that would benefit from the shopping trip. This year, the district has identified three respective families with a total of 13 children.
The three families and 13 children remain anonymous throughout the process.
Shanaman said that the student council member teams were given a shopping list and budget of $100 for each child on the list.
In order to raise this year’s $1,300, the student council held a popular pretzel sale at the beginning of the year, where their classmates pre-purchased pretzels that are given out once a month throughout the year. This year, 385 families signed up for the pretzel sales.
The student council, with each sale, explained that the proceeds go toward the annual shopping event.
They also collected recyclables from each of the classroom in another effort to raise shopping funds.
During their trip, the Worcester Elementary students wore special t-shirts with the name of their school on front and on the reverse, their motto: “Helping our school and community.”
“It makes me feel excited,” Alex Zografakis, Worcester Elementary student council member said.
He was working with his team to cross off desired toys on their list for several girls ages 5 months to 11.
With shopping cart in one hand, and calculator in the other, the nine volunteer parents assisted the student council members by helping them keep to the $100 budget.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for them to help other families in their district,” Karen Rowland, volunteer parent, said. “It’s nice to see the kids do something for others at Christmas time.”
“It’s kind of hard and it’s kind of fun to do the math when we shop for others,” student council member Chris, and Rowland's son, said of working within a budget.
By 10:30 a.m., the students were in two long lines at the cashier with over five filled Target shopping carts that included such items as a variety of toys, clothes and non-perishable food.
According to Cohen, Target has both welcomed and encouraged the Worcester Elementary students’ annual visit. This year, Target gave the students a free lunch in its cafeteria, after their shopping trip; and in previous years, the store has given them free wrapping paper.
On Dec. 10, the Worcester Elementary Student Council will begin wrapping the gifts, which will be given to the school nurse for delivery before the end of the month.
“It makes me feel good to help,” Laine Spang, student council member said.
“Because, we’re helping others,” added her teammate, Giovanni Consiglio.