With community help, local teacher buys entire elementary school a Christmas gift

Published: Dec. 17, 2017 at 9:07 PM CST
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Inside room 112 at Hawthorn Elementary School in Camdenton, fourth graders are learning double digit multiplication from Mr. Eric Cook.

But, just three weeks ago, a wrench was thrown into his lesson plans.

"Every teacher in the world heartbreaks when their kids cant get the very basics," Cook said.

But, he doesn't mean the basics in the classroom.

A student came up to him after Thanksgiving, crying, saying her family wasn't going to be able to afford a Christmas this year.

"I know in a lot of classrooms there are kids who probably wont be getting a whole lot," Cook explained.

So, Cook decided to take matters into his own hands. He went to the Lake Area Happenings Facebook page, and asked for help to get each student in his class a gift for Christmas.

Little did he know just how big this project was going to be.

"I was approached by someone who said 'Lets do the whole building. What do you think about that? Do you think that's doable," Cook said. "And, not knowing what I started, I said, 'Sure!'"

With about $3,000 dollars raised so far between a GoFundMe page and donations given in person, Cook has bought a gift for every third and fourth grade student at Hawthorn Elementary school.

That's a total of 470 kids.

"We've got some footballs, Barbie dolls, Pokemon cards, Rubik's cubes, Stuffies," Cook said. "I guess that's the new craze now."

The gifts are all expected to be in by Tuesday, and the students will get them on Wednesday before school dismisses for Christmas break.

Cook, however, still needs your help.

"Anything we can do to make their lives a little safer and better...it's worth it," Cook said.

If you would like to help spread the joy to these students, you can donate on Mr. Cook's GoFundMe page.

The Shawnee Bluff Winery has promised to match every donation given to this endeavor.