By Sara Katherine Johnson
Santa’s Workshop will visit campus today to bring Christmas cheer to approximately 400 children between the ages of 3 and 5 during an event that includes presents from Baylor cheerleaders, crafts and an appearance by Bruiser.
The two-hour long event begins at 10 a.m. and takes place at the McLane Student Life Center. Santa’s Workshop is a student organization made up of a committee of 15 participants. During the fall semester, they fundraised, marketed and organized to host a Christmas party in December for local Waco children by partnering with school programs. Each child in attendance will receive a wrapped toy and lunch.
“Planning is like a waterfall,” Vienna, Va., senior Peyton Starr said. “It’s most difficult to get the first thing done, but the payoff is worth everything.”
Santa Claus will visit the children before their lunches are served, and student volunteers, including student athletes, will play with kids during this time.
Starr, the program’s director, said money to provide presents is donated largely by faculty and staff. The money goes directly to buying presents and decorations for the gym.
While some gifts were donated in donation bins around campus, most of the gifts were purchased by the organization. The goal is for kids to receive gifts of about the same quality and size, Starr said.
Santa’s Workshop has more than a 20-year history on Baylor’s campus, but Starr said the way it unfolds changes every year.
San Antonio senior Jackie Hernandez said last year’s event was cancelled because of bad weather.
“Since we didn’t have the main event we drove to the kids and delivered all 650 toys to 650 kids,” Hernandez said, who is also the volunteer and marketing chair.
This year Hernandez is looking forward to hosting the event on campus and seeing it all come together.
“I originally just got into it for the wrapping of the presents,” Hernandez said.
Wednesday, Santa’s Workshop gathered in the Bill Daniel Student Center building for their annual wrapping party. Hot chocolate and Christmas music was provided to keep spirits high, Starr said. This is the event that drew Hernandez to the group. She said she stayed because it was rewarding to see the kids get the gifts.
Starr said she under ordered on presents this year accidentally, and Wednesday turned into an impromptu trip to Wal-Mart to buy more gifts.
“This is the part that’s all the fun,” Starr said. “The end when we get to buy presents and see the kid’s faces.”
Starr said she was inspired at the beginning of the year to try and reach 1,000 children and 1,000 gifts. Even though this year’s attendance will be short of that, she said it is a good goal for her predecessors to aim for next year.
Starr encourages Baylor Students to drop in and play with kids during today’s event.