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South Jordan Journal

Golden Fields Elementary students learn value in Operation Bundle Up

Jan 30, 2020 12:30PM ● By Julie Slama

Box of hats, coats and other warm winter items lined the foyer of Golden Fields in December; they were given to Murray Fire Department to support Operation Cover Up, which gives the items to people in need. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

At Golden Fields Elementary, students are stepping up month after month to help their community.

“We want to help kids look outside themselves to make a difference, notice what is needed, step up, help others and be nice,” Principal Nick Hansen said. “We want them to make an impact now and in the future. We’re teaching them to be lifelong learners and servers.”

Recently, student council led their peers in Operation Bundle Up, an opportunity to collect stocking hats, coats, gloves, mittens, socks, snow pants and other warm clothing items to give to those in need, said fifth grade teacher Kortney Florin.

“This is our third annual year with Operation Bundle Up,” she said. “In our first year, we gathered 600 to 700 coats. It was just insane how many we collected and how generous our community is year after year. We’ve asked for warm outerwear clothing, but we’ve also received boots, blankets and even snowshoes.”

Student leadership organizes the campaign from making posters to carrying the donated items to an ambulance from Murray Fire Department that came to collect the items.

“The student leaders are leading it, spreading the word and getting everyone excited about it,” Florin said.

Herriman High senior Brooklyn Jones holds up a boxful of costumes donated by Golden Fields students to give to refuge students. (Angie Jones/Golden Fields Elementary)

Fifth grader Cecilia Wood said she brought in hats, scarves, gloves and a pair of boots. 

“I outgrew my old boots, and it’s nice to know someone else who needs them, will get good use from them,” she said. “The best thing is being able to help someone who needs these things, and we’re able to give them new or good condition ones to get more use from them, especially in the winter when it’s cold. We’re fortunate that we can help them.”

Her classmate Audrey Madsen agrees.

“There are people who need them more than we do, and it makes me feel good inside that we’re able to help them stay warm,” she said, adding that she brought a bag full of snow pants, coats, hats, boots and gloves.

The school’s donations go toward fire departments’ Operation Cover Up, which in its 28th year, donates the gently used cold-weather items, such as blankets, coats, hats and gloves they receive at their local fire stations to other organizations, such as churches and shelters, who give them to people in need.

In November, students watched a video about people in need of meals, then Golden Fields student body participated in a two-week food drive to benefit the Utah Food Bank, filling more than eight large bins. It was the school’s third annual non-perishable food drive.

“The Food Bank person said to me, ‘I’ve never picked up this much food from any school before,’” Hansen said. “The bins were overflowing; our community was so giving.”

In October, students responded to Herriman High senior Brooklyn Jones, who asked students at Golden Fields, as well as Eastlake and Daybreak, to donate costumes for the Utah Refugee Connection since there were not enough Halloween costumes for the many refugee youngsters who wanted to dress up. 

As a friendly competition, Jones arranged for the Herriman High mascot to visit the winning school.

Together, the schools contributed 174 costumes, which added into the 500 donated to the refugees from throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Golden Fields donated 100 costumes and hosted the Mustang in the school Halloween parade.

Florin said student leadership also serves the community at the school through recycling and safety patrol in addition to holding a springtime kindness campaign. In years past, they’ve collected glasses for those in need, helped create a playground safety video and have promoted the school’s buddy bench to foster friendship on the playground.