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Cordua workshop shares lessons in giving
Proceeds support Hallwood school's activities
First-grader Claira Goss bought reindeer poop from Santa's workshop this year.
"You got your friend reindeer poop?" said fellow classmate Taelynn Demott, surprised.
"It's not poop," said first-grader Piper Harringer. "It's chocolate-covered raisins!"
The three girls at Cordua Elementary School were attempting to name every Christmas gift they bought at Santa's workshop this week for their families and friends. Among barbecue spatulas and toy trucks were chocolate-coated raisins labeled as "reindeer poop."
Every year around Christmas for the past nine years, Shirley Slocum runs a small workshop in the cafeteria at Cordua Elementary School in Hallwood. Along with the displays, decorated in typical Christmas fashion, Slocum makes hundreds of gifts and toys that students can buy for their families.
The yearlong project can be a daunting task, but the kids are happy to help.
"We get cookies and punch and get to spend money," said Slocum's son, Spencer, a fourth-grader at Cordua.
All the proceeds from items sold at the workshop — ranging from lotions for Mom to tools for Dad — go back to the school. For kids, the extra cash translates into additional field trips.
"And we get more AR books," Spencer added, referring to the accelerated reading books available to the kids in the school library.
Shirley Slocum hand-makes almost everything in the store using recycled materials. Wallets made from duct-tape; tote bags made from empty Capri Sun pouches; and book-bags made from baby overalls are just a few of the items available at Santa's workshop.
One of the toys students can buy is a bow and arrow made from a PVC pipe, a stick, cut up foam from a swimming pool toy and string.
This year, the workshop was open three days, but shelves were looking empty by the second day. In the first two days alone, Slocum estimated that she'd sold about 350 items.
"They've cleaned me out," she said.
Slocum started running the store nearly a decade ago. After seeing how a previous parent ran the workshop, Slocum had her own ideas about how it should work.
"I said, 'Next year, I want to go bigger,'" she said.
Buying gifts at Santa's workshop teaches kids about the spirit of giving and the value of getting something that is handmade, she said. However, she has personal reasons for volunteering her time as well.
"I love it, just love it," she said. "Watching their faces light up, it's rewarding and fun."
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4783.