Las Vegas Sun

December 9, 2018

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Nonprofit brings holiday gifts, essentials to Nevada students

Maureen Cotton-Rex Bell Elementary School

Christopher DeVargas

Maureen Cotton teaches her fourth-grade class at Rex Bell Elementary School on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. Rex Bell is one of the schools served by Communities in Schools of Nevada.

Hundreds of low-income students across the state will walk home with gifts for the holidays this year, courtesy of a local non-profit. ​

Since Monday, Communities in Schools of Nevada, the state wing of a national group that identifies pressing needs among K-12 students, has been collecting donations to give to students in Nevada schools.

Organizers have been putting the holiday drive on since the 1970's but recently it's ballooned into a much larger effort, according to state director Diane Fearon. Two years ago the donation drive was organized at 12 schools. Last year it grew to 20, and this year students in 43 schools will receive gifts through the drive.

A coordinator at each school serves as the eyes and ears of the organization. They identify the needs of the students at their particular school so the organization can divert the appropriate resources.

High schoolers, for instance, want money. So the group hands out $25 gift cards to T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and movie theaters. Recently, coordinators in elementary schools have found that children are in need of winter coats.

"The expression of their value and that someone cares about them is an important element," Fearon said. "These kids often won't have enough on the holidays.​"

To donate to the drive, visit

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