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Students spend $14K at annual charity shopping spree

Skaneateles Middle School Student Kayla Ramsden shops for toys for needy children Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Walmart in Camillus.

Skaneateles Middle School Student Kayla Ramsden shops for toys for needy children Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Walmart in Camillus. Scott Schild

— Skaneateles Middle School students were let loose last week in the Camillus Wal-Mart with the goal of spending $14,000 on toys and other gifts for less fortunate children throughout Central New York.

The annual charity shopping event saw 60 student volunteers and 21 district staff members divided into groups, each racing around Wal-Mart with specific tasks and shopping lists for specific children’s charities. Each student group had 90 minutes to spend roughly $1,000, and each item purchased had to be under $20.

“Before we begin our shopping spree, I explain to my students the impact they will have on a child’s Christmas because of what they are about to accomplish,” said Student Council advisor Scott Stagnitta. “To help make the connection on what is taking place, I will have Peace Incorporated send video and photos of the toys being passed out at local schools and organizations. My student council members, in January, will get a glimpse of what they have helped accomplish and the impact they have made on other lives because of their generosity.”

The annual Skaneateles Middle School Student Council Holiday Shopping Spree started in 2000 when 25 student council representatives raised $500 and shopped for toys for local children at Toys R Us.

“The experience was uplifting for these 25 kids. They were shopping for children who would go without if not for them,” Stagnitta said.

The second year saw the Student Council host a Dinosaur BBQ fundraiser off the back dock of the technology room. They sold 15 pounds of pulled pork and raised around $400. Now, 10 years later, the student council sold 100 pounds of Dinosaur BBQ pulled pork and 20 pounds of Gianelli sausage in a drive-in-restaurant type of setting in front of the Middle School. This year close to $5,000 was raised.

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