WILTON — Wilton teachers are reaching out to make sure all school children have warm clothing this winter through their annual Giving Tree Program. Teachers, current and retired, are asking for help to collect clothing for children in need at G.D. Cushing School and Academy Hill School this holiday season.
In each school lobby stands a small evergreen tree decorated with paper ornaments. Each ornament represents a request for a piece of clothing for a local boy or girl. Requests include winter coats, mittens, snow pants, boots and socks.
“When you come in and see a tag asking for a pair of socks, it breaks your heart. Sometimes we don’t realize how desperate the need is for some of the families in our community,” Pamela Brooks, second grade teacher, said.
The teachers, staff and community members who organize the Giving Tree Project are asking for community help again this year. “People can come in and pick a tag, purchase the clothing and return it in a gift bag by Dec. 15,” said Zetta Wojcik, a retired school secretary who continues to help with the program. She and several retired teachers, as well as concerned community members, are helping out this year.
Last year, teachers were overwhelmed with more than 200 requests for clothing and asked the community to help. “Once people in the area knew about it, the requests were filled so quickly and we received some cash donations that allowed us to fill all the requests from our students,” Brooks said, “I know it makes me feel better to help kids at Christmas.”
The need for the Giving Tree is as great as last year, according to Wilton Principal Darlene Paine. She said requests are still coming in and there are already as many as last year. Almost 70 percent of Academy Hill and 75 percent of Cushing students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program, Paine said. “Wilton has had the highest percentage of eligible students in the school district for the past two years,” she added.
For more information about the Giving Tree Project, contact school staff at 645-2442 (Cushing) or 645-4488 (Academy), or stop by either office to choose an ornament.