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Abby Evans takes a tag from the Ferry Elementary Giving Tree. Photo by Renee Landuyt
December 12, 2013
Christmas Day will seem a little brighter and a whole lot cheerier and jollier for three children of need in Grosse Pointe, thanks to the students and staff at Ferry Elementary School and their Ferry Elementary Giving Tree.

“Our Ferry Giving Tree is our way to paying it forward to families in our community,” said Jeanette Evans, library media assistant at Ferry and Poupard elementary schools and vice president of Ferry’s PTO. She and school social worker Carrie Balderson chaired the project, which is a joint effort of the PTO and Ferry staff.

“I’ve always wanted to do something charitable as a PTO and Christmas seemed like the perfect time of year to do that,” Evans said. “We can get so caught up in accumulating ‘things’ that it’s important to take a step back and figure out how we can give back ! We thought that by involving the students indirectly, they would have the chance to truly appreciate all that they have in their lives.”

The tree, a red tinsel tree decorated with 195 tags, each representing one gift for a child for 65 total gifts per child, was on display last week in the hallway near the school office. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, during designated times at lunch, students and staff had the opportunity to pick tags from the tree and purchase the gift written on the tag.

Gifts ranged from a pack of Fun Loom Bands or a toothbrush to a winter coat or backpack. Before choosing a tag, students brought home and had their parents sign a permission slip acknowledging their desire to participate.

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The response was overwhelming, with most of the 195 tags gone by the second day. Evans said she had to hang an additional 30 for Thursday, all of which were chosen during the lunch period.

“We couldn’t be happier with how our Ferry families rose to the challenge,” said Evans, who spent the past six months speaking to parents to gauge interest in the project, before pitching the idea to the PTO and Ferry principal Gloria Hinz.

“Based on the response we received, I think it’s fair to assume that we will put up the Ferry Elementary Giving Tree again next year. I’m so proud to be part of the Ferry community.”

Collection day for the gifts, left unwrapped, is Friday, Dec. 13.

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