Christmas Basket Tradition Continues at Pacelli schools

Published 10:42 am Friday, December 16, 2016

By Laura Sheedy

Grade 6-12 Activities Director

Advent is a time of reflection and of waiting in the Catholic faith. During this time, we encourage our students to think of others with our Christmas Basket Project. Since 1978, during the month of December, students in grades 6-12 at Pacelli Catholic Schools bring in their spare change or other donations towards this project. This year the students had a penny war and half-time shoot out at a few of the Lyle-Pacelli basketball games. All money raised is used to purchase Christmas gifts for families, identified by the Catholic churches of Austin, who might need a little help in providing something extra to make Christmas a merry day. Each year the students exceed expectations with their generosity and thoughtfulness.

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This year we are also delighted that we have been selected as recipients of a Shopko Foundation Grant of $500 to add to the total that the students bring in themselves. The money raised, along with the Shopko Foundation Grant, will be spent by the students when they go shopping at Shopko on Monday, Dec. 19. This is a learning experience of its own.

Seventh graders Herandi Serrano and Caitlin Drees keep track of spending during Christmas Basket shopping at Shopko. Photo provided

Seventh graders Herandi Serrano and Caitlin Drees keep track of spending during Christmas Basket shopping at Shopko.
Photo provided

Students are put into groups of three or four and then assigned a child to shop for, with an amount of money that can be spent for each child. They must work together to decide what to purchase, as well as keeping track of amount spent on each item and figuring it out as a team. Their ideas of what to purchase for the child that they are shopping for are thoughtful, clever and both practical and fun. Thank you to the Austin Shopko store for helping make this a success each year. Shopko staff’s patience and understanding of our goal of helping make a merry Christmas for others is greatly appreciated.

Once the gifts are purchased, the students go back to school to wrap the presents. This alone is something that some students think about beforehand. I have seen a sled wrapped in the most creative way possible that could only have been thought out before it was even purchased.

Other items, such as quilts made by members of all three Catholic churches of Austin, will also be given to families and hats knitted by Cindy Enfield will be donated. All gifts will be blessed at our Mass on Wednesday, Dec. 21, before they are delivered by Pacelli alumni to the families.

With each passing year of the Christmas Basket Project, we remember all that we are given and what we are thankful for.

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at, email or call 507-437-3278.