MHS Volunteers Prepare Gifts For 100 Area Families In Need

About 25 Maumee High School student volunteers met at the Maumee City Schools Administration Building last Wednesday to prepare 100 Christmas gift bundles, each containing seven toys, to give to area families in need. The toys have been hand-selected and purchased by the same anonymous Secret Santa for nine years in a row. MHS volunteers (from left) senior Mikayla Thebeau, senior Lauren Albright, junior Disha Patel, senior Lily Tolbert, senior Kylie Albright, junior Dingna Hong and junior Courtney Crawford wrap gifts in a group on the gym floor of the administration building. MIRROR PHOTOS BY DENNY McCARTHY
Student volunteers (from left) senior McKenna Wales, senior Lilly Murphy, junior Brynne Behnfeldt and junior Ronald Gaines work at a gift-wrapping station.
Maumee High School freshman Mackenzie Hayes and sophomore Victoria Castaneda wrap gifts in the main hallway of the administration building.

BY DENNY McCARTHY | MIRROR REPORTER — Christmas spirits were high last Wednesday when a group of about 25 Maumee High School Students filled the gym and hallway of the Maumee City Schools Administration Building to prepare gift bundles for families in need.

The 100 bundles, each containing seven age-appropriate gifts for children ages 2-10, were hand-picked by an anonymous Secret Santa who has continued this tradition in Maumee for nine years.

“The purpose of coming here is for these kids to see there are ways to volunteer and have fun doing it,” the charitable Santa said. “They’re sitting around here chatting and having a good time. It’s not always hard labor.”

While the Secret Santa provides all the gifts each year, Maumee City Schools provides the wrapping paper and labor in the form of eager student volunteers – something district communications director Nancy Sayre said they’re more than happy to do.

“It’s very heartwarming. We love doing this. You can tell the students love participating. We have 25 helping this year!” she emphasized.

Maumee High School sophomore Victoria Castaneda, who volunteered for the event for the first time this year, said she would gladly do it again next year.

“I hope it gives (the families) hope, faith and happiness altogether, so we can actually give something to them, and that there’s something under the tree for them to open.”

The Secret Santa, who hand-selects the presents all year long, is already buying and planning for next year. They have also continued the same tradition in Springfield for 19 years. 

They see their festive giving tradition as multi-fold in that in addition to helping others and feeling good about it, they’re creating a lesson-teaching opportunity in hopes that students will grow to continue doing charitable acts well into adulthood.

“I’m hoping to plant a seed that once they’re out (of school) and have a job, they see a toy sitting on the shelf and return the ambition to somebody else,” the anonymous benefactor said. 

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