On Thursday, December 14th, Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) celebrated one of the school’s oldest service traditions at their annual Christmas Basket prayer service. Since the 1940s, the AHA Student Government has led the Christmas Basket program to provide gifts for Twin Cities families in need.
The families are identified by AHA’s longtime nonprofit partner Universal Multicultural Consultants, Inc. - a 501c3 nonprofit organization working with families in transition and crisis. Inez Grace is the director at Universal Multicultural Consultants, Inc. and has been partnering on this project for 25 years with Gregg Sawyer, AHA theater director and adviser to Student Government.
This year, students, faculty and staff came together to generously provide gifts and household goods for 55 families comprised of 240 individuals. With the help of Inez, the families shared with AHA a personalized list of items they most need and want. The Student Government also provided each family with a grocery store gift card to assist with the holiday meal planning, in total providing $3600 of grocery gift cards this year. The average expenditure per AHA student for a family member is $40; AHA Student Government provided money for AHA students who can't afford to donate to ensure all students can participate.
“The Christmas Basket program is a well-loved tradition at AHA and the oldest service project at our school,” commented Gregg Sawyer, “Service projects like this are a foundation of our culture and student life.” Inez Grace and many of the Christmas Basket recipients joined the AHA student body, faculty and staff for an inspiring prayer service where the gifts and their receipients were blessed. Inez spoke and thanked the school community, and a recipient guest also shared her personal story and gratitude to the students. Following, the families were able to collect their gifts.
A video with highlights is below: