Cheney Free Press -

Managing Editor 

Making sure those at-risk have holiday cheer


December 27, 2018

John McCallum

he door of the Cheney Middle School library decorated to receive Holiday Store customers.

For the past nine years, Cheney School District art teacher Sherie Syrie has spearheaded an effort to make sure at-risk students have an opportunity to do some Christmas shopping for their families - and even for themselves.

John McCallum

Cheney Fire Department Battalion Chief Ken Johnson demonstrates some gift wrapping technique to a CMS student,

The Holiday Store takes place the Thursday before Christmas in whatever school Syrie is assigned to, and enables low-income familiy students selected to take part the chance to come to the library and use distributed "Santa Bucks" to purchase about $40 in gifts. The money comes from local organizations, who also send members to volunteer to help out at the store.

"For the past few years the Cheney Fire Department Benevolent Fund has given us $2,000 to spend on gifts for the kids," Syrie said in an email.

Syrie said the funding enables the students to purchase between 2-5 gifts, depending on the size. Usually about 60 students are invited, with about 50 attending each year.

Items included warm clothing such as gloves, coats and boots, blankets, children's toys as well as those for teens and other gifts for the home.

John McCallum can be reached at


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