Students at St. Ann Catholic School on Friday loaded up presents that will make Christmas brighter for 106 children in foster care around the Kansas City metro.
The students adopted the children as part of the Red Bag program, a 29-year-old tradition for the school. In fact, the Red Bag program itself was started by St. Ann parishioner Daniel Jacobs when he started collecting money from fellow employees and friends to help low income families with electric bills and holiday gifts. He realized children in foster care are often left our of the traditional programs so he works with the Juvenile Court system to get the first name, gender, age, clothing size and wishes so people can adopt a child for the holidays.
The gifts are put in giant red bags and distributed to the children. Families, classes and groups within the school adopt children and collect new gifts, clothes, stuffed animals, games and gift cards. Most students participate in the collection either with their families or a class.
After Jacob’s started the program, one of his good friends, Doreen Carbaugh, decided it was a project the school would like to join. The organizing has now passed down to another generation of parents, but lives on at St. Ann’s. Friday students loaded the Red Bags onto a truck headed for the Red Bag distribution center at Grace Covenant Presbyterian in Overland Park.
While many of the St. Ann students were busy loading the truck, another contingent was spreading Christmas cheer to shoppers at Macy’s at the Village Shops as the school’s show choir sang Christmas carols.