This is a story of a very special Primer, who did a very special thing, at a most special time of year! It may be a month past Christmas, but it is never too late for a story of kindness now, is it?
Each year, Primer classes read the award-winning book, “The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas”. It is a heartwarming story about a boy named Sam who discovers a mysterious sparkly box in his home. His parents tell him it is a special gift called a Sparkle Box that they will open together later, but they need to fill it first. As Sam enjoys the festivities of the season, he continues to wonder, What's inside The Sparkle Box? When it's finally time to open it, what Sam discovers catches him by surprise and changes Christmas, and his heart, forever. The box is actually a gift to Jesus. It is filled throughout the season with notes about the activities his family participated in, from dropping off warm blankets for the homeless to delivering food for the hungry. Things that will make Jesus happy!
From the moment she read it, the book touched the heart of Primer Teacher Laura Huguley as well. So much so, that years later she still gets a little choked up when she reads it to her class. Primer classes replicate the story’s sparkle box by decorating a regular cardboard box with paint, glitter, wrapping paper, stickers— whatever supplies they can find! Students participate in service learning projects at school throughout the season making regular connections to the simple and inspiring story.
One of Ms. Huguley’s students, Rory Phillips, carried her sparkle box home and inspired her family to do some pretty remarkable things. Using her own birthday money, she shopped for supplies, stuffed bags filled with snacks, toiletries, and gift cards to McDonalds, then delivered them to homeless shelters. Each bag included a hand-written note from Rory! As it turns out, she had enough of her own money to make eight bags, but received unsolicited donations that allowed her to make fifty bags in total! Rory called them “friendship bags” and says she wanted to “let homeless people know that she would be their friend and that they were not alone.”
“Never before,” said Ms. Huguley, “has a student brought this project home and really taken it to heart the way that Rory did.”
“The King will reply,
“Truly I tell you,
whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.”
- Matthew 25:40