Our 2017 Xmas Angel project is underway.  Anne Hill, School Counselor, and Mercedes Bolduc, Home School Liaison at Wilkinson Elementary School compiled a list of needy children at the school with the help of classroom teachers having day-to-day contact with the students.  At Wednesday’s meeting, Anne delivered information about each child and their “wish list" to the XMAS Angels committee – Brian Miller, Carolyn Jones-Penn, and myself.  (Left to Right in the photo below:  Mary-Lynn Desjarlais, Anne Hill, Carolyn Jones-Penn and Brian Miller.)
Anne spoke briefly to give everyone background perspective and underline the importance of the project to the children who will be receiving our gifts.  Perspective:   Fourteen children attending Wilkinson are homeless, and 80% are receiving free or reduced fee lunches. She said that last year several parents teared up as they were given the gifts their children would receive.  Anne told us “Your gifts are the only gifts many of these children will receive this coming holiday.” 
She concluded by thanking us for the many dimension of our Club’s partnership with Wilkinson -  BUGS, clothing drives, classroom sponsorships, toiletry donations, and the buddy benches.  Anne added that the school’s partnership with the Siesta Key Kiwanis Club provides additional resources so the school is able to do more for their students than would otherwise be possible.
Mary-Lynn and the Angels Committee then worked the room asking members how many children they would support with a gift.  That having been done, Mary-Lynn made sure everyone understood the gifting ground rules.  They are:
  1. Please be sure to spend within the requested range of $25 to $30 per child.  Spending more, while good intentioned, is very unfair to the other children.  Children talk and the extravagant gift one receives may spoil another child’s delight.
  2. You may buy more than one gift for your child, but honor the spending guideline.
  3. Please wrap the gifts.  If that does not work for you, give Mary-Lynn a heads up so the Angel committee is prepared to help.  However, do wrap (or bag) gifts if at all possible.
  4. If clothing is mentioned on you child’s sheet don’t hesitate to buy a requested toy and a clothing item.  Again, within the cost guidelines.
  5. Securely attach the gift’s family & child identification to the gift.  Use lot of tape. Nothing gums things up more than gifts that have lost their identification information.
  6. Finally – Please deliver the wrapped presents to the SKKC meeting on December 6th.   Anne Hill will return to accept them on behalf of the children.  Brian Miller is organizing the delivery to the school.  Bring presents in early so Carolyn Jones-Penn can track and inventory.  Also, bring a camera.  The presents and activity are a great photo-op! 
This year, 86 deserving students will be receiving Angel gifts from our members.  It is a signature project for our Club and is always one of my Kiwanis Ah-hah moments:   All of this anonymous giving.  ‘Tis the season and a reason we are Kiwanis.  It is also one of the reasons we are "The Mighty Siesta Key Kiwanis Club.”
Thank you,
Mary-Lynn Desjarlais
MLDesjarlais@gmail.com or (941) 302-1312
PS:  A reminder - there  will be no meeting Wednesday November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving.  The next meeting is Wednesday November 29th.