The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

December 14, 2013

Walton students bring good tidings, gifts to kids

By Cheryl Petersen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Nearly 50 Delaware County families will have a brighter Christmas season thanks to an effort at Walton Central School. 

On Friday, students and staff at Walton Central School loaded up a Delaware Opportunities van with gifts and other items for more than 100 local children and their families. 

For the last few weeks, a stock pile of items has been accruing at the school. 

“The gift drive begins before Black Friday,” said Sonnet Constable, adviser for Future Business Leaders of America at WCS. “Sponsors like to shop at the sales to use as much purchase power possible.”

“The items are then taken to the Delaware Opportunities building,” said “The gifts will be distributed to children and families accordingly.”

Gifts requested are often practical: winter clothes, hats, gloves, bed sets, blankets, diapers, and baby wipes.

Delaware Opportunities supplies a list of families eligible for free gifts. 

“The list doesn’t mention names, only the number of children in the family, and the children’s gender, size, and age,” explained Constable. “However, we also get families outside of Delaware Opportunities who call the school and make requests. This year, gifts were donated for a total of 49 families,” 45 of whom were connected with the gift drive through Delaware Opportunities. 

Constable coordinates the gift requests with sponsors. She keeps a spreadsheet throughout the process to keep track of incoming items.

“The outpouring of the community is amazing,” said Constable. “School faculty and staff are key sponsors; however, we also get local businesses and individuals who contribute.”

“To see what our staff and students are doing is an impressive act of kindness,” Walton Superintendent Roger Clough said in a media release. “It’s heartwarming to see everybody wanting to give back, especially during this time of year.”

The gift drive started about 10 years ago. 

“I got together with Janelle Montgomery at Delaware Opportunities and we started the program to provide gifts for a few children,” said Constable. “In 2005, it morphed into benefiting the Parent Aide Program, and Judy Velten is now our Delaware Opportunities contact.”

“The united effort in the gift drive is vital to making sure no child is missed and that each gift is appropriate,” Velten said. 

Delaware Opportunities employees will deliver the gifts to the families next week.