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Poland 2nd-graders donate gifts to senior citizens


 Poland second-graders and teachers posing with items donated to Valley Residential Services

Poland Central School District second-grade teachers Heather Judd, Michelle Garrett and Rachel Hitt pose with their students and items students donated to give as gifts to senior citizens who live at Valley Residential Services in Herkimer. View more photos on the school Facebook page at



POLAND – Poland Central School District second-graders passed up on the chance to do a holiday gift exchange this year to instead donate gifts to residents of Valley Residential Services in East Herkimer through a donation effort they dubbed “Santa for Seniors.”


All Poland second-grade classes participated – from the classrooms of teachers Heather Judd, Michelle Garrett and Rachel Hitt.


“Each class will still celebrate the holidays, but we are hoping to help others that are in need or will be alone during the holiday season,” the teachers wrote in a letter to parents about the donation effort.


Students were asked to bring in items of about $5 of value such as socks, hats, bobbleheads, sun dancers, puzzles, paper, pens, crafts, tissues, lip balm, sanitizer, lotion, games, blankets and more.


The second-grade teachers said they wanted to teach the students that it’s better to give than receive and about the importance of helping others.


The classes also made cards, decorated bags and stuffed the bags with the donated items to be delivered before Christmas.


Poland Principal Greg Cuthbertson said he is happy to see the second-graders learning at such a young age about opportunities to help others.


“Especially this time of year, kids are always excited about what they’re going to get, and I think it’s important that we teach them about giving too,” he said.


Cuthbertson said he believes that when you put out “good” into the world, you get “good” back.


“I think the second-grade teachers have really embraced that, and they’re passing that to their students too,” he said.


The second-graders were happy and energetic as they decorated the bags, filled the bags with items and carried the bags out to a car to be delivered.


“That’s the thing for me – to see that excitement on the faces of the kids from knowing what they did is going to be going to be helping other people that they don’t even know directly,” Cuthbertson said. “It’s just a little gesture, but to be able to share in that with other people, I think it’s important for them to experience that.”