Students at Menominee Indian Middle School are spending this week Christmas shopping for family, but this store is free and for all students.
An extra room at Menominee Indian Middle School is now a store, but not just any store, it’s a free store for all students, and this time of year, students are able to Christmas shop for family.
“It started out just as the clothes and then we thought why not try to get some donations for our kids who are in need, and because of the overwhelming response from community members and people from outside the community, we were able to have the whole entire school go through and shop for their families,” explained Tracie Ourada, the school’s Social Worker. “We call it Second Chances, a student in an English class came up with that name. Every student last year, which was around 150 students, went through and bought a gift for everyone in their family, and they’re also able to get a gift for themselves.”
This is the second year that the opportunity has been available, and it keeps getting bigger.
“People saw it on Facebook, we’ve had churches donate, a Menominee woman, who saw it on Facebook but lives in Milwaukee drove all the way up and dropped off a whole truckload of stuff.” Ourada added, “We’ve had almost everyday donations coming in.”
The students each get to take time during a three-day period to pick up an item for each member of their family by simply browsing tables that are organized in categories, from adult men to kids, and along with some items that work for all ages, like books and movies.
Ourada says once they pick out their items, they get to complete the gift shopping process.
“Then they get to go into the office and into a wrapping room,” said Ourada. “We’ve got Christmas music in there, other staff members, and then staff who volunteered from the Boys and Girls Club here in Neopit to wrap, so they wrap their presents and then they get to take them home that day.”
Menominee Indian Middle School has a large percentage of families that qualify for free or reduced meals, and Ourada said this opportunity is perfect for the spirit of the season as well as the financial demographics of the school.
“Just because of the high need of the community and the generosity here, we’re able to put those two together and have something really great.”
One thing is for sure, the families of students at Menominee Indian Middle School will have something under their tree this year, thanks to a good idea and a second chance.
Students will be able to shop for clothes they need and the school said the store is such a huge success, they are considering having a shopping opportunity for other holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.