An outpouring of donations rolled into Emerson J. Dillon Middle School on Dec. 23 as the Polar Express made its annual stop to make spirits bright.
Each year, community members, school district personnel, area businesses and other agencies drop off hundreds of new gifts to the middle school.
From there, the items are separated into categories such as toys, books, clothing and jewelry, and displayed on tables for students to peruse.
Students make their way through the “store,” where they pick up gifts for family members.
For EJD student Thomas McCarthy, the Polar Express had everything he needed on his shopping list.
“I got stuff for my grandma, mom, dad, sisters and brother,” he said as he brought the gifts to the library, where a gift-wrapping station was located.
“So many people donate not just the gifts, but their time to wrap the gifts too,” said school psychologist Jill Lunn. “It’s a team effort and everybody pitches in. The community really supports our schools, and people are very generous. That kind of attitude rubs off on the students; they realize that it’s not about getting things.”