QUILCENE — Pouring rain, Christmas music and passing work and semi-trucks honking in support accompanied a giveaway of throw blankets, hot chocolate, candy canes and hand sanitizer to Quilcene School District students.
Staff, teachers, community members and a few students handed out the gifts as students and their families drove through the front parking lot Wednesday.
“Thanks for coming through! We miss you,” yelled Principal Sean Moss through a megaphone during the district’s ‘Winter Warm-up.’ ”
Standing in the rain, socially distanced and wearing face masks, Quilcene School District teachers, staff and students handed out about 160 Costco throw blankets, with the remaining 70 to be delivered to the students who were unable to attend.
About 30 people lined the sidewalk in front of the small school district, including community member Richard Chadwick, who dressed as Santa Claus, handed out hot chocolate.
The event was coordinated by district administrative assistants Carrie and Tammy Thompson, who aren’t related; they just share “the same awesome last name,” they said.
The district is connected to the organization InvestEd, which helps Washington school districts with funding assistance, and who — through a COVID-19 relief fund — donated $2,500 to Quilcene for the blanket gifts, Carrie said.
The district has given holiday gifts to its students for years. The gifts usually are socks, but Carrie and Tammy wanted to provide blankets since a young girl asked for one a few years ago.
This was the first time district officials could provide them for the 240 students.
“We try to do something every year,” Tammy said. “This year is more special.”
Carrie added: “It was fun to do. We just miss our kids. We want them back.
“It’s so nice just to see their faces.”
The staff and faculty also were glad to be able to give students blankets because the gift is something the youngest and oldest can use and enjoy, Moss said.
Officials weren’t sure how many families and students would be able to make it Wednesday, especially given the wet weather, but Moss was happy with the number of students who came during the three-hour event.
He enjoyed interacting with them, he said. The district returned to remote learning in November.
“I think one of the hardest things for us right now is we miss seeing the students, and just being able to see them for a few minutes and wish them a happy holidays is fantastic,” he said.
Some students, including freshman Jeremy Allen, junior Ewen Lerest and fifth-grader Eli Allen, assisted with handing out the different items. The three appreciated the gifts and were happy to help out on Wednesday, they said.
“It makes it feel like they care,” Allen said.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].