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Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News
Lincoln Elementary third-grader Edson Chacon, center, hugs a Christmas present from the Utah Central Credit Union's Christmas Wishes Gift-Giving program.

Kishawn Belfield couldn't stop smiling, or yelling for that matter.

After peeling away Christmas wrapping she discovered she had gotten not one but two dolls and "the best kind of shoes."

For Belfield, the gifts are one of the few things she has to call hers. Frequently moving from house to house in past years made it hard to accumulate or hold onto belongings. And a recent fire at her house took the few clothes and toys she did have.

"I had nothing but my daddy and his girlfriend," Belfield said.

But thanks to a Christmas Wishes Gift-Giving program put on by Utah Central Credit Union, Belfield got more than she expected. The program provided more than 600 students at Lincoln Elementary with one "want" and one "need" for Christmas.

But to Belfield's surprise she got fancier shoes than she expected, Airwalks, and not one but two dolls.

"I love them all, everything is my favorite. Thank you, credit union," she yelled multiple times.

Thursday, credit union officials celebrated 10 years of the Christmas Wishes Gift-Giving program at the school.

Lincoln, a Salt Lake inner-city school, has an almost 90 percent poverty rate with high numbers of refugee students as well as students from homeless shelters.

"Some have lived in refugee camps their whole life and this is their first exposure to the States and our holidays," said principal Tracy Vandenventer. "It's overwhelming to see how excited these kids are to just have their own pillow or socks.

The program asked people in the community to pick up paper ornaments made by each child that described a special want and need.

Sara Swift, business development director for Utah Central Credit Union, said community members picked up almost all of the ornaments, and other gifts were taken care of through donations.

For half of the day Thursday, class by class got to rip into their individual gifts.

"If you can describe Christmas, this is what it should always be like," Swift said.

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