‘The Giving Tree’ grows in Washougal

Cape Horn-Skye fourth-graders raise money for those in need

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School fourth-graders collected donations of food and clothing for the homeless after being inspired by the book, “The Giving Tree.”

“It is better to give than receive,” is a common phrase. But what does it really mean?

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School fourth-graders found out when they participated in “The Giving Tree Project,” which allowed them to help the less fortunate at Open House Ministries in Vancouver.

The students made crafts and ornaments in class.

Then, they held a craft fair at the school holiday concert where parents “purchased” their creations by donating food and clothing for people in need, instead of paying with money. Their efforts netted more than 850 items.

“It was a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun to make the crafts,” said Emma Ellard.

“It must be really hard to be homeless, especially at Christmastime. It made me feel really happy to help them.”

“We found out that they need lots of things at the shelter,” said Zoie Peterson. “We gave them a bunch of stuff like food, games, socks, tooth brushes and soap. They were amazed that we collected so much for them.”

Student Bryce Williams created a “tip box,” which he wrapped like a present, with a slit in the top for donations. The box brought in nearly $50.

“It really made me happy to give stuff to people that really need stuff,” he said.

Shelter volunteers and employees came to the school to collect the items, and talked with the students.

“A couple of the men that work at the shelter were at one time homeless,“ said teacher Darcy Hickey. “While here to pick up the items, they shared their story of being homeless and many students followed up with great questions. The men told us how amazed they were by those kids and how they touched their hearts.”

The students’ donation was the largest one-time gift the shelter has ever received.

“Not only did [the] school give lots of food and non-perishable items, but the gift they gave was kindness, love, and interest in our families who live at our shelter,” said Lucy Gaspar of Open House Ministries. “We truly appreciate all the hard work the school staff and students did in collecting all of the items.”

The project was inspired by the Shel Silverstein book, “The Giving Tree.”