Bus keeps some from going without
Franklin County Times
The faculty and staff at Russellville Elementary and West Elementary reached out to children in need this Christmas with the help of local businesses and members of the Russellville City School System.
Principals Kristie Ezzell and Ramona Robinson worked closely with their counselors Denisha Blackwell, Michelle Hester and Amy McReynolds to identify children in their schools that are in need this Christmas.
"We worked with the teachers and everyone to find the children that would get very little to nothing at all this year for Christmas," Ezzell said.
Blackwell, Hester, and McReynolds worked contacting businesses and getting donations for the children.
"It wasn't very hard [finding businesses and people] to help," Ezzell said. "There's a lot of people out there willing to help if they know it's for a good cause."
Once the money was collected and children were identified, with their parents' permission, 25 students from West and RES loaded onto a bus named the Santa Bus, and were taken to Wal-Mart to each spend $100 on themselves for Christmas.
"Each student had their own personal shopper to help them pick out clothes and toys for Christmas," Ezzell said.
Each student/shopper duo was instructed that they must buy at least one pair of pants or jeans, shoes, socks, underwear, and a coat if needed. Any money left could be spent in the toy department.
"A lot of the kids decided to get more clothes instead of a lot of toys, but each child got at least one toy," Ezzell said.
Ezzell said that the event was a very humbling experience for all involved, and that it filled their hearts to a part of it.
Ezzell said she and Robinson plan to bring the Santa Bus back next year with the help of local businesses and community members.
"We hope we can take two buses next year instead of one," Ezzell said.
Ezzell and Robinson both sent out a special thank you to all those who made the Santa Bus possible for the students.
The sponsors for this year's Santa Bus include: Sen. Roger Bedford, Valley State Bank, Dr. Tom Morgan, Citizen's Bank, Frosty Inn, Bank Independent, West Elementary Lunchroom ladies, McDowell, Beason, Hamilton, Attorneys at Law, Stay Kool Inc., Dr. Wilkinson, FUMC Sunday School class, d&D Hardware, and First Baptist Church.