Secret Santa Program helps families in need

Student Council facilitates to holiday community involvement


Student council member designs poster to advertise Secret Santa program (Huffman/LION).

Mckinley Huffman, Reporter

Every year around the holiday season, LT’s Student Council participates in a local Secret Santa program in conjunction with the La Grange Rotary Club and Community Nurse Health Center, a nonprofit organization based in La Grange, Student Activities Director Peter Geddeis said.

This organization primarily provides medical services to low income families that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. Their client base spans across multiple communities in the area and many clients are eligible for the Secret Santa program.

Besides just asking for toys for the children, Community Nurse also requests that each child is given clothing or school supplies. Student Council is given the names and wishlists of the children in the program and from there clubs, teams, teachers, classes, families, or even groups of friends can “adopt” one or more kids to shop for and give to.

“I did it with my math class last year, and when we were shopping and thinking of stuff, it was really community-building,” AJ Dingle-Gyunn ‘25 said. “I feel like everyone had a good time shopping for them as well. It’s fun bonding with people over stuff like that.”

The cost is typically around $125 for each child, Student Council member Riley McCarthy ‘24 said. Student Council hopes to have at least 145 children sponsored this year. 

Generally, it’s hoped that all of the children are adopted before Thanksgiving break, to give individuals enough time to go shopping, Geddeis said. Gifts need to be dropped off at the Student Activities Office at either campus before the end of the day on the Monday after Thanksgiving break. The following Wednesday, they are delivered to a drop-off location, which recently has been the La Grange Park District.

“It definitely starts the holiday season in a really great way,” McCarthy said. “It gets people in the holiday spirit because everybody loves giving gifts, it feels so nice to give back.”

This program has an impact on the families involved, but it also influences those involved on the other end. 

“It has impacted me more since I became a dad,” Geddeis said. “It’s really driven home for me, just what a difference this makes. Even though we’re fortunate, it reminds me that I could be in that situation, [my son] could be in that situation. It makes it more personally important for me.”

A variety of people participate in this program from around the community, all for different reasons, Geddeis said. Some people seek out a team building experience or the opportunity to do good around the holidays, or in the case of families, to teach their children about giving back. 

“Why people like getting involved in this [is] offering someone some help,” Dingle-Gyunn said. “It’s just that feeling of helping those in need.” 

This year, anyone interested in sponsoring a student has until Nov. 22 to do so. Student Council planned on releasing a video explaining more details at the end of October. 

“I think more people should be involved just because people tend to get swallowed up in themselves and what they need,” Dingle-Gyunn said. “It’s a great eye-opener to step back and see that other people also exist. If you step back, you’ll be able to see all the people that are struggling, and see that you can help. That’s what is really important.”