Mother’s organization teaches importance of giving, children gifting to others

TULSA, Okla. — With just 24 shopping days left before Christmas, the holiday rush is on.

And for parents with young children, that usually means picking out toys.

“What are you getting for someone else, something you like, that you think another kid would like?” asked mother, Nichole Newton.

On Wednesday’s shopping trip, Newton was teaching her 6-year-old son Timmy an important lesson about giving, by helping him select a gift for someone else’s 5-year-old son.

“Christmas can feel all about receiving to children, so I think it’s so important for them to learn how to give,” Newton explained.

A few aisles over, Newton’s 10-year daughter Avery was selecting gifts for a 10-year old girl.

“My daughter got a really cool STEM toy for another little girl because girls, they can do science, girls love science too.”

The Tulsa Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, a mother’s organization for African American families, is shopping for Christmas gifts for several families whose children attend John Hope Franklin Elementary School where more than 90% of the students are on free or reduced lunches.

Danielle Melton and her daughter Kennedy are members of the Jack and Jill of America Tulsa Chapter. Their list included finding a top and pants for a 10-year-old boy.

“We want to make sure that we pause, and then show them the importance of Christmas,” Melton said. “It’s not always about receiving things, but also giving things and seeing the happiness in other people’s faces when they receive different gifts.”

Michelle Anderson said the goal of the Tulsa chapter is to build future leaders. Every year, she said their children do community service, including the holidays.

“It is really important to give back,” she explained. “If you’re not, you’re missing out. To me, I get my energy from when I’m giving, and I want my children to be able to get that and feel the same way, I feel like to be a good citizen in your community, you must know to give back to your community.”

We asked 11-year-old Kennedy Melton how selecting presents for other kids felt:

“It feels really good to get other people stuff,” she said. “Nobody wants to have a bad Christmas so we just wanted to get these clothes for him.”

Wednesday afternoon we spoke by phone with the principal of John Hope Franklin Elementary, Kelley Blakney, who told us she thought the effort was amazing.

We’ve also learned some of the students at her school are hosting a food drive called “Fighting for Hunger” through after school programming.