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Local daycare comes together to help give others a Christmas

The giving spirit of Christmas can pervade anywhere. In Shauna Pengelley's case, that even includes a daycare center. Pengelley runs Tot's Landing Childcare from her home in Dickinson, where she oversees 12 children. This year, she decided to inv...

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Tot’s Landing Childcare workers Jade Cianna, Shauna Pengelley and Stacia Whittlesey sit with children they oversee before a mound of gifts they and parents associated with the business purchased to give to less-fortunate families for Christmas. (Submitted by Shauna Pengelley)

The giving spirit of Christmas can pervade anywhere.

In Shauna Pengelley’s case, that even includes a daycare center.

Pengelley runs Tot’s Landing Childcare from her home in Dickinson, where she oversees 12 children. This year, she decided to invite the families of the children to all come together -- in order to help two other less fortunate families have a joyful Christmas.

Pengelley said she was first inspired to help the families -- whom she knows through her business -- from looking back on how the daycare has grown to include its own collective of close, genuine families.

“When I started daycare, it grew into something so big,” Pengelley said, describing how she went from watching one child in the beginning to a dozen.

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She felt she could get at least some of the families of the children to come together to “adopt” the other two families and help buy them gifts for Christmas.

When Pengelley met with them to pose the idea, she said it was a hit.

“Everybody signed up,” she said.

Stacia Whittlesey, one of the employees at Tot’s Landing who also participated in the scheme, praised the families of the daycare as “very nice and generous people.”

As Whittlesey explained, the parents were instructed to buy gifts in one or more of four categories for the children: something they wanted, something they needed, something to wear and something to read.

One of the parents that participated was Jocelyn Jahner, who went to Wal-Mart with her children to look for gifts.

Jahner said her two older girls picked out books. They also bought a toy and diapers.

She also gave some of her children’s snow suits that had hardly been used.

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“It was just nice to give back,” she said.

For the adults, Pengelley and Whittlesey got together to purchase grocery cards.

“We didn’t exclude the parents, of course,” Whittlesey said.

Once all the gifts accumulated, Pengelley delivered them to their respective families, where she was met with gratitude. She said one of the mothers commented on how their Christmas tree had been bare beforehand, then hugged Pengelley with “tears of appreciation.”

In light of the success of the project, Pengelley said she plans on recreating it for all the following years.

“We decided that we enjoyed it too much,” Pengelley said.

She said the families were brought together and all the children enjoyed taking part in the activity. Plus, the kids were taught the value of generosity from the experience.

“Each child learned that these are gifts being given to kids less fortunate or going through a hard time,” Pengelley said.

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Jahner said she would “most definitely” participate in the next Christmas “adoption.”

“I think it is always nice to help pay it forward,” she said.

Related Topics: DICKINSONCHRISTMAS
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