Secret Santa Makes Christmas Gifts Possible For Local Families

Maumee High School students (from left) Tessa Bolton, Lucksmita Uddin and Sadeen Abdelrahaman smile during present wrapping on November 29. The high school students volunteered after school to finish wrapping gifts from a Secret Santa. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Nine hundred and ninety-nine presents will make their way under the trees of 111 Maumee children this year.

Mrs. Secret Santa, who has remained anonymous in her years of gift-giving, works hard throughout the year to collect the presents that have made their way to the homes of thousands of children.

For more than 20 years, the anonymous benefactor and her husband have gifted supplies to students in several school districts, including 11 years of gifting in Maumee.

Throughout the year, she collects a variety of gifts and items local children might need or enjoy, from games to school supplies.

What’s inside the gift boxes varies for everyone, but she knows the recipient families are grateful they have something to put under their trees.

“In the past, it’s been seven gifts, but this year, we upped it to nine,” she said of each recipient’s array of gifts.

By Mrs. Secret Santa’s estimates, she’s given out more than 25,000 presents in her time, but it’s not as impossible of a task as it might seem.

“This is something anyone can do, maybe not always on this scale, but they can help others.”

When shopping, she looks for “buy one, get one free” sales on items she already needs. The free item always goes toward the Secret Santa kids.

Using store rewards she gets from items she already purchases for her own home, the donor can then spend the rewards on small gifts for the young children in the community.

“You just have to start somewhere,” she added.

That “somewhere” can be as a Secret Santa, serving as a volunteer at food pantries or donating to an angel tree at a local church. Whatever people choose, they can do so knowing they are helping out their community, which is all that matters.

“I’m just doing it for the kids. I’m not doing it for the recognition. I have no contact with anyone but the schools,” she noted. “They handle the rest with the families.”

The philanthropist delivers the toys to the district’s administrative office, where several high school students from the Interact Club help wrap and organize the presents.

The families are then able to stop by and pick up the gifts in time for the holidays.

“I just want to know that this year, on Christmas morning, there are 111 kids who wake up to a joyous Christmas,” she said.

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