This is the time of year when many of us show we care by choosing a special gift for our loved ones. And at Victoria’s George Jay Elementary, a heartwarming community fundraiser allows every child to experience the true joy of giving. It’s called the Holiday Emporium. “It’s something that we’ve been doing here for over ten years! It’s incredibly popular, and something that we look forward to year after year,” George Jay Parent Advisory Committee member Tania Wegwitz. It’s a brilliantly simple idea that involves the whole school community. Toys and household goods are dropped off, sorted, and on the day of the Emporium, placed on tables in the gym. Karma, a Grade 5 student, explains how the Emporium works. “You come in, and then there’s a bunch of tables with gifts on top of them, and then you choose one, and all you have to do is pay $1.00!” Karma said. “This is a tremendous way that all of the kids get a chance to participate. They get to participate in giving something special, and picking it out, for someone they love,” Wegwitz said. “And as a community, it means that we’re recycling what we already have, we’re not adding to extra stuff out there. It’s also win-win for the PAC as well because the proceeds raised go to us, which in turn is invested back into the students.” “The Emporium came as a PAC idea – our Parent’s Advisory Council – and I think what they demonstrate with this event, and throughout the year, that they have a huge social conscience, and I really appreciate that. They want to ensure that there’s equity and parity all times of the year, and at this time of year I think it’s especially important that all children have the opportunity to give, because the pride that comes from being able to give their own gifts to their own family is huge,” Terri Smith, principal at George Jay Elementary, said. The community also donates various items to a silent auction, which helps increase the total for this important fundraiser. “Typically it raises between $1,200 and $1,400 per year for the school, so it is a tremendous fundraiser,” says Wegwitz. George Jay Elementary is a school that is truly embracing the spirit of giving.