The gift of warmth: First Presbyterian Church gives gloves and hats to local elementary students

Drew Butler
dbutler@gannett.com
Members of the First Presbyterian Church Mission and Outreach team put together goody bags for every student at Charles Evans, Lincoln and Jefferson Elementary Schools. Each bag contains a hat, gloves, a candy cane and fruit gummies.
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Christmas is coming early for students at Charles Evans, Lincoln and Jefferson Elementary Schools. Later today every child will be receiving a goody bag with a hat, gloves, a candy cane and fruit snacks courtesy of the First Presbyterian Church Mission and Outreach Team.

Lori Hoke, a member of the Mission and Outreach Team, said 823 students in total will  receive the hats and gloves. While they have done similar gift bags in years past, this year they are making more than ever before.

“We’ve been doing this for several years, but we decided to do all of the elementary schools in Ardmore School District this year because of COVID,” Hoke said. “I read in an article that Heroes with Hope had said the top three things they need for children in our area are socks, underwear and gloves.”

As a former teacher at Franklin and Jefferson Elementary Schools, Hoke said she saw many students over the years coming in without proper winter clothing.

“You would be amazed at how many children come to school with no hats and gloves or socks,” Hoke said. “My husband used to drive a school bus for Ardmore City Schools, and he said sometimes he’d be picking up kids at 7 o’clock in the morning who weren’t wearing hats or gloves.”

In addition to helping out local children the church also helps out residents at area nursing homes and the Ardmore Veterans Center.

“We get a list from the activities director of the residents who don’t have families or have families that are unable to financially provide for them,” Hoke said. “People don’t realize that the nursing home won’t get you clothes and they won’t get you shoes. So it’s kind of on the families to do that for them, and when they are not able to, that’s where we come in.”

Hoke said this year they provided gifts to every resident at the Veterans Center as well as providing for those in need at local nursing homes. Popular items were sweatsuits and house dresses with button up fronts.

To further spread holiday cheer, The Ardmoreite is currently accepting donations that will be distributed to local children’s and family organizations along with area nursing homes. The pandemic has hit many locals hard, and this year more people than ever are currently in need.

A large donation box will be set up outsideThe Ardmoreite Monday through Friday during business hours where we will be accepting new toys for children as well as older teens through December 22. We will also be accepting new winter clothes and blankets for people of all ages and sizes through the end of December. In addition to clothing, toiletries are some other much needed items.