Sharing Holiday Cheer at Salem Hills

Sharing Holiday Cheer at Salem Hills

Some of North Salem’s oldest and youngest residents have become friends, sharing time together on Dec. 20 to ring in the holiday season.

The students of Pequenakonck Elementary School have been busy as elves throughout December creating holiday cards, crafts and letters to present to the 130 residents of Salem Hills Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Purdys. Fourth- and fifth-graders wrote and decorated cards and letters, while younger students created bookmarks, stationery, and snowflake and snowman ornaments.

Students, faculty and staff have been saving water bottles since last January, and the money obtained from recycling them was used to buy gifts and craft supplies for the nursing center residents. To date, $200.70 was raised from recycling 4,014 water bottles. Donations were received from both school families and employees. Paraprofessionals spent hours purchasing and wrapping gifts and held a “gift prepping party” to assemble personalized bags containing cards and gifts for each resident. In addition, 33 blankets and throws were purchased to keep the seniors warm this winter.

PQ’s four kindergarten classes traveled to Salem Hills to deliver the cards and gifts and perform a small holiday concert for the residents. Seniors were invited to sing along and joined in for several holiday tunes, filling the halls of the facility with the sounds of the holidays. The intergenerational friends exchanged gifts and the kindergartners brought back books and Play-Doh sets for each classroom.

This heartwarming project is part of the school’s ONE CUB Kindness Initiative, founded by kindergarten paraprofessionals Britt Togonon and Lisa Finer. ONE CUB’s goal is to empower students with the knowledge that they can make a difference in the world through kindness.