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Friday, May 6, 2016

Meridian students benefit from Ellettsville Santa's helpers

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Edie Campe photo

James Parlett II gathers stuffed animals to give to students at Meridian Elementary on Monday morning. The gifts were a donation from Donald and Barbara Smith of Ellettsville, Ind.

Christmas for some people is the gift of giving. Once in a while, a person can be found who gives gifts to those who are less fortunate and not expect anything in return.

Children of all ages were called down to Meridian Elementary principal's office Monday morning. Most of them knew that they had been good, so they couldn't figure out why they had to go see the principal.

Once they were there, Judy Parlett and her son, James, greeted students with a "Merry Christmas" and a gift from Donald and Barbara Smith of Ellettsville. Some students didn't know what to say and let the joy and shock overpower their ability to speak; others were so happy that they hugged Judy and showered her with thanks.

For the past three years, the Smiths have purchased and made items to give to area children.

Throughout the year, Donald Smith brings gifts to his sister, Judy, here in Brazil. She and James take the gifts to a local school and distributes the presents to students. This year, they took about 100 presents to Meridian Elementary.

"The students were very appreciative of the gifts," said Meridian Elementary Principal Karen Phillips. "It was exciting to see their eyes light up."

The Smiths' donated gifts included Barbie Dolls to dolls with hand-crocheted dresses, NASCAR collectibles to airplanes, and stuffed animals in stockings to coloring books with crayons.

Parlett described her brother and sister-in-law as being "secret Santas."

According to Judy, the Smiths never had children, but love to make children happy. The Smiths find joy in helping families in times of need and don't want recognition for their generosity. Donald Smith declined to comment when asked about he and his wife's donations. Judy believes that the Smiths truly are saints to those families that they help.

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