K-12 EDUCATION

Santa sacks: Helping Granite students in need

Nov 18, 2023, 6:00 AM

Kyle Chadwick helps fill thousands of Santa Sacks for needy students at Granite School District’s...

Kyle Chadwick helps fill thousands of Santa Sacks for needy students at Granite School District’s Santa Sacks workshop in South Salt Lake on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. The sacks include new blankets, books, socks, hats, hygiene kits, school supplies and toys for younger children, or headphones and gift cards for older students. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Granite Education Foundation is getting ready to begin its seasonal “Santa Sack” campaign. Volunteers will help gather and donate toys and school supplies to impoverished students in the Granite School District.

According to Foundation Director Jadee Talbot, of the 58,000 students in Granite School District about 47% fall below the poverty line. 

“A lot of our programming goes to serve those kids that fall under that category,” he said.

Volunteers in the Foundation shop for toys or school supplies for those students, to make sure they get Christmas gifts. Talbot said it’s great for underprivileged kids to be able to join conversations with peers about what Christmas presents they got.

But, he said these Santa sacks affect more than just the kids. Talbot said one volunteer met the mother of a student who was given a Santa sack.

“The parent just kind of teared up and was like ‘I can’t tell you how grateful I am for what you do because my kids were recipients of these a few years ago,'” Talbot said. “[They] went on just to say that the family is in such a better spot now, but was so grateful [after] trying years of their life to be able to give their kids something.”

Distributing the Santa sacks

School social workers are a big help when it comes to handing out the Santa sacks. Talbot said they are the ones who put in requests for them in the first place. 

“They know the kids so well,” he said. “They put in the request and we deliver Santa sacks to the school, and then the school is in charge of distributing those out to the families so the kids have something for Christmas.”

Talbot also said it’s been a blessing and an inspiration to see how many people go out of their way to share the Christmas spirit with the kids.

“I just feel blessed on a daily basis to be able to see the generosity of people,” he said. “People’s willingness to jump in and help both financially, through donations, but also with their time to really … make it a special experience for kids.”

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Santa sacks: Helping Granite students in need