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Polk County Public Schools holiday giveaway lessens the burden for families in need

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 18:47:56-05

HAINES CITY, Fla. — The pandemic still has many families wondering how they will afford this holiday season. Polk County Public Schools is making sure students have gifts to open and helping parents alleviate some of that financial strain.

Christmas came early for Pre-K students at Bethune Academy and their parents.

Thirty-six little faces lit up as they tore open a huge sack filled with toys from their wish lists. That’s not all, they each received an outfit, sneakers, undergarments, socks and a jacket.

“You just don’t have the words to say enough thanks. And it’s great that they go out of their way for the children like this,” said Shannon Jackson.

Each year, employees from PCPS’ Information Systems and Technology division coordinate Kiddie Christmas to benefit children in need within the school district. Fundraisers and donations pay for the gifts.

“To make sure that these families have some joy during the holidays. I think COVID elevates that feeling of giving but it’s always been about helping families,” said Tina Barrios, Assistant Superintendent for PCPS’ Information Systems and Technology.

Parents like LyDia Jefferson are so grateful to have some of the burdens lifted this holiday.

“I’m still playing catch up with bills like everybody in the world,” Jefferson said.

Each parent was also sent home with a box of groceries filled with items to prepare a holiday meal, including a turkey and ham.

Giving families so much to be thankful for this season.

“They helped out a lot, a lot and they got the kids what they wanted. Santa really came through,” Jefferson said.