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Tiger Express providing families with Christmas gifts

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns As part of an annual Christmas tradition, a committee of teachers at Elkins High School work to bring holiday cheer to students by providing families with gifts and items needed to prepare a Christmas dinner. Jess Hedrick, pictured with donated goods, acts as chairperson for the Tiger Express.

Editor’s note: The Inter-Mountain’s Comfort and Joy series will continue in each edition leading up to Christmas.

ELKINS — As part of an annual Christmas tradition, a committee of teachers at Elkins High School work to bring holiday cheer to students by providing families with gifts and items needed to prepare a Christmas dinner.

Jess Hedrick, chairperson for the Tiger Express committee, said being part of the Tiger Express is a “humbling” experience.

“Over the years this experience has really humbled me about how much people are willing to give and really willing to do for the program and in general, not just teachers but students as well,” she said.

This Christmas, a total of 52 school-aged children will benefit from the efforts of the Tiger Express, according to Hedrick.

Thanks to many donations made by teachers, students and members of the community, each family will receive items for Christmas dinner including a whole turkey. In addition to items for the holiday meal, families will also receive peanut butter, cereal and other non-perishable foods.

Contributions also allow the group to provide every school-aged child in the home with gifts – these gifts may include a coat, hat, gloves or other donated items.

Hedrick said EHS students are encouraged to contribute to the project by donating food items to their homerooms and assisting with gift wrapping.

“We have some students that take charge and donate their own money,” she said. “It’s very humbling.”

This year, the Tiger Express is organized by a committee of eleven teachers. Hedrick explained that each year, all members of the committee send out letters to businesses and organizations in the local community, as well as nearby communities, seeking donations.

All gifts and food items will be delivered to respective families on Dec. 20 so that the children are able to receive their gifts on Christmas.

The Tiger Express accepts monetary donations as well as non-perishable food items year-round. Anyone interested in donating to the project may call EHS at 304-636-9170.

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