During the month of December, the Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) Student Government (pictured above), comprised of 19 students representing all grades, led the school community in the annual Christmas Basket Project. The history of the Christmas Basket Project dates back to the 1940’s and is one of the school’s oldest traditions. Today, it is one of the many ways that students carry on the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, AHA’s founders, to ‘love thy dear neighbor without distinction.’
Student Government members and Mr. Gregg Sawyer work with the school’s long-standing community partner Family Solutions: Universal Multicultural Consultants, Inc., a local 501c3 organization helping families with crisis intervention and life skills counseling. With the help of Inez Grace, executive director, families are identified and provide a ‘wish list’ to AHA. It is the hope that the AHA community can come together to provide groceries and Christmas gifts for these families in need. Mr. Sawyer shared, “While the families that we serve have stories that are varied in scope, the one common thread is that life has thrown them into the deep end without support, and they do whatever they can to tread and stay afloat.”
On Thursday, December 15, the project culminated at the Christmas Basket Prayer Service, led by the Campus Ministry Team and band and choral students. Inez Grace and many recipient families also attended the event and received blessings and gifts and shared their gratitude with the school. This year, the student body, faculty, staff, and alumni provided 50 different families (208 individual family members) with Christmas gifts.
“I love this project,” said Mr. Sawyer. “It reminds all of us why we are blessed. Each year, we have the opportunity to reach into our hearts and provide for families we may never meet but are our brothers and sisters in spirit. And once again, the Stars of AHA were bright and radiant in their giving. We are a blessed community.”
Mr. Foley ’89, alumni director, added, “We are grateful to the AHA alumni who stepped up to support two families with the Christmas Basket Project this year. Within just a few hours of getting the word out about the need, Bjorn '96 and Emily Hodgson Zellner '96, Mark '86 and Tina Erazmus, and Mollee Erickson '99 all stepped up to make sure all these families were covered for Christmas. Thank you, alums!”
Following the prayer service, Mr. Dysart with the band and Mrs. Allured with the choir led the community in a Christmas sing-along.