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Pleasant Hill Students To Receive Gifts From Santa’s Sleigh Project

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Pleasant Hill Students To Receive Gifts From Santa’s Sleigh Project

Every student enrolled at Cumberland County’s Pleasant Hill Elementary School will receive a stuffed animal and a book this Christmas from the Santa’s Sleigh Project.

Massage therapist Angie Long started the project last year focusing on Cumberland County Schools with students below the poverty level. Long said 67 percent of students at Pleasant Hill Elementary live in households that fall below the poverty line. Long said she started the project with the tagline “He sees you too” to offer hope to children who do not receive many gifts for Christmas.

“I feel like it’s super special because you have kids that Christmas isn’t a happy time of year,” Long said. “They don’t get to go to school during winter break. They’re not there with their friends. They’re at home and you know, things are tough. And then, you know, the little ones don’t know not to ask parents who maybe can’t give to them, so then, in turn, the parents have that guilt.”

Long said that giving is her love language and she’s always loved being involved with projects that offer a helping hand to the “underdog.” Long said the stuffed animal is a resource for comfort, while the book is a chance for the child to continue to learn at home over the break. This project takes some stress away from parents as well, Long said.

“Knowing that, you know, I can’t give my kid what every other kid gets, but they got something,” Long said. “It makes it a little bit better for the whole season because they know they’re not alone, and they know there are people out there that care about their children too.”

Long said this year she will enlist a “Santa” to pose for photos and hand out gifts with a handwritten note addressed to each student. Long said Pleasant Hill has a student body of some 600 kids. Long said she aims to raise $10 per student to provide the gifts that she buys from Kohl’s through the Kohl’s Cares charity.

“You’re giving them the gift of literacy,” Long said. “Some kids may not have the ability at home to have extra books or extra things that they can practice their reading skills that they’re learning in school, so it gives them that to take home as well.”

Long said each grade level will be assigned a different stuffed animal and age-appropriate book to add variety to multi-child households. Last year, Brown Elementary School was the focus of the inaugural installment of the project. Long said she hopes for this year to be an elevation of last year’s success.


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