Oak Lawn Community High School math teacher Ellen Kruger, with the help of math teacher Sara Strelow and Dean Jamie Hernandez, continued the school-wide Operation Santa Claus tradition this season, marking the fourteenth year of this event that makes the holiday season for Oak Lawn residents.
Christmas trees were made available in the faculty mailbox room, faculty café, and student cafeteria with candy canes. Each candy cane had a gift tag identifying a person, his/her age, and desired wish or need. Wishes included clothing, gym shoes, small appliances, gas cards, grocery cards, household items, musical instruments and toys. Wrapping paper, bags, gift boxes, ribbons and gift tags were donated, and volunteers wrapped all gifts.
Two new contributions added to the program this year. Jake Canvin, a 7th grader at Oak Lawn Hometown Middle School, initiated his own toy drive and donated extra toys. Jake contributed three toys each to seven of the youngest children in an Operation Santa Claus family. Jake, along with his four-year-old brother Jackson, toted his toys via wagon to Oak Lawn Community High School during his lunch break on December 18.
Oak Lawn resident Janet Cepek and the Women’s Auxiliary of St. Louis de Montfort Parish collected $525 and adopted an entire Operation Santa Claus family, purchasing all of their gifts. Janet’s donations were in honor of her granddaughter, a Bolingbrook High School student, who was killed in a car accident at 18 years old.
This year the Spartan community donated 315 gifts and $1,605 in gift cards to 14 families and their 21 collective children. $625 in spare change was collected in classrooms to help purchase additional clothing, toilet paper, and nine pairs of shoes. To this date, Spartans have donated 3,680 gifts and $15,773 in gift cards for 336 Oak Lawn residents!