The season of giving: Troop Support employees donate gifts, supplies to local school during annual holiday party

By Shaun Eagan DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Making reindeer ornaments, playing games of musical chairs and singing Christmas carols were part of the scene at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School during the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s annual Children’s Holiday Party Dec. 6.

Approximately 20 civilian and military employees volunteered to deliver gifts, make holiday arts and crafts and play games with more than 180 kindergarten and first-grade students of the school.

“Participating in the Children’s Holiday Party meant a lot to me,” Army Sgt. 1st Class Jerod Cotton, a Clothing and Textile customer care specialist, said. “To see the kids’ eyes light up as I walked through the doors with gifts and the smiles on their faces as we played games and talked…I am really looking forward to the next event.”

Since October, employees donated and wrapped gifts for each student and planned the day-of activities.

Iris Figueroa, a Benjamin Franklin Elementary School teacher and the holiday party coordinator, says that for some of the children, the holiday party is the reason they can celebrate the holidays.

“A few years back, I had a mom in tears because she couldn’t afford Christmas and [DLA Troop Support] made Christmas possible for that child,” Figueroa said. “The joy [DLA Troop Support] brings to my children is priceless. For that one day they are children enjoying the holidays as they should.”

In addition to the gifts, each teacher received a container full of items needed for the classroom. Donated items included boxes of crayons, reams of paper, headphones for computers, tissues and cleaning supplies.

Volunteers were happy to be part of the program.

“I participated in this year’s Children’s Holiday Party because I love to watch [the children] smile and I love to listen to their stories and requests for what could be their presents this Christmas,” Amarilys Rodriguez Agosto, an Industrial Hardware contract specialist, said. “It means a lot to me because I can do a small gesture and it could mean a lot for that kid. A hug, a smile, even a small chat; just to look at how their eyes light up makes me happy.”