During the last week of school before winter break, there is a buzz in the air as students participate in dress-up days, share their holiday traditions with peers, and plan epic snow fort battles. However, this is not the case for every student as some know that they might not receive a present for the holiday or that there won’t be enough food on the table to go around. For these students, the winter break isn’t always a time to rest and rejuvenate before the new year.

That is where CIS and community partners like Moses Lake Industries, Moses Lake Rotary, Gesa Credit Union, and others step in to fill some of the gaps. This year over 400 students in North Central Washington received a gift during the last week of school before winter break. Some of the gifts were small like a Barbie or a Jump Rope, some were more personal like a backpack with hygiene products, and some were gifts for the family like a gift card for groceries. No matter the size, each gift was received with smiles, hugs, thank you’s, and even tears. One parent said to the site coordinator at their school, “Thank you for helping me give my children the most wonderful and normal Christmas”.

It is moments like these that allow us to pause and reflect on the importance of this work and the communities that surround our children.