Here comes Santa

FCCLA students use the money raised through the Santa’s Closet donation to buy presents for children in need
New Ulm FCCLA with their five shopping carts overflowing with toys for children in need.
New Ulm FCCLA with their five shopping carts overflowing with toys for children in need.

In the span of one week, New Ulm High School’s FCCLA chapter collected $2,217.60 to purchase presents for children in the area who do not have access to many Christmas gifts every year. There were five groups total, each given $440 to spend. Although $2,217.60 is a large sum of money, past years have been much more successful, raising $3,700┬áin donations, on average.

Students loading the gifts into the back of the bus

On Friday, Dec. 1, members of FCCLA gathered in the lower commons of the high school to get on a bus to Walmart in New Ulm to purchase gifts with the donated money. Toys are collected for children of all ages and range from picture books to Legos to sleds.

The first three hours of the school day were blocked off for the kids signed up to shop. When the gifts are all purchased and bagged up, everything has to be loaded into the back of the bus to be taken to the New Ulm Armory. Students helped with unloading the gifts onto endless tables inside. The gifts are sorted by price for parents of families who qualify and are chosen by schools in the area to pick up. “I think it’s great how we can help families in need by raising money to do things like this,” FCCLA member Addie Ringhofer said.

Students posing with all the gifts purchased

FCCLA is the Family Career and Community Leaders of America, a national organization consisting of over 200,000 members and 5,100 chapters. Students are able to join FCCLA starting as a freshman but can join any time throughout their high school career. Anyone joining an FCCLA chapter should have the goal in mind of promoting personal growth and leadership development through FCS (Family Consumer Science) education courses.

Although the organization is now called FCCLA, it was previously called FHA, which stood for Future Homemakers of America until 1999.

Santa’s Closet, a project started at New Ulm High School around 30 years ago, strives to give all children a “Merry Christmas.” Students, teachers, and all staff are encouraged to bring money to donate to the project. As always, to get high schoolers to give away anything, there is an incentive. The top three third-hour classes that raised the most money get a prize. “I remember last year in Mr. Bute’s class, everyone was always throwing money in the envelope just so we could win,” Ben Groebner said. The first place is a pizza party, the second is root beer floats, and the third is cookies, all for the whole class.

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