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Warm Hearts = Warm Clothes for the Holidays


“It’s warm inside my hat!” a student yelled after putting on a new winter hat he received from the Warmth and Good Cheer event Thursday.

West Godwin Elementary spread that warmth and cheer to students before they left for the holiday break with a giveaway of mittens, winter coats, snow pants and boots — topped off with donuts and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Every year the school receives $100 from the Godwin Education Association at the holidays to help others, and in the past the school has adopted a family. This year it decided to do something different.

“We thought ‘How about we do something for everybody?'” said Kristi Bast, the school secretary who organized the event.

Several businesses, a local church, the PTO and members of the community helped, donating enough to give every one of the school’s 422 kindergartners through fourth-graders a hat and mittens as well as other winter clothing.

“A lot of schools give away stuff but this is a big deal,” said Kaleigh Salata, a behavior intervention specialist. “I think it’s very cool we are able to do this.”

Principal Steve Minard echoed her thoughts. “We all know how needy our families are, and winter items are huge for them,” he said.

Waiting in line is fourth-grader Ximena Gonzalez

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Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio or email Linda.

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