Pacelli students carry the Christmas Basket Project

Published 5:36 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

By Laura Sheedy and Kelsey Hilgers

As Advent unfolds, bringing a spirit of reflection and anticipation in the Catholic faith, the students of Pacelli Catholic Schools are encouraged to embrace the season by helping and caring for others with the school’s Christmas Basket Project. Since 1978, students in grades 7-12 have been participating in this annual tradition, embodying the true spirit of giving.

Throughout December, students bring in spare change, fundraise, and gather donations to raise funds to purchase Christmas gifts for families identified by the Catholic churches in Austin who may need some extra help during this time of year. The project serves as a beautiful testament to Pacelli students as year after year they exceed expectations with their generosity and thoughtfulness.

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On Wednesday, the students were able to get to work and headed to Marshalls to do some shopping. Organized into small groups, each was given a budget and assigned a child to shop for. The students worked together and made purchases that were thoughtful, clever, practical, and fun. Pacelli would like to extend their gratitude to the Marshalls of Austin for again contributing in making this project a success by generously donating $200 for the students to use in purchasing gifts and for the helpfulness of all the staff when students were there shopping for their families.

The project doesn’t end there though. Once students returned to school with their purchases they set to work wrapping them all. Much thought and care is put into the wrapping of these gifts.

Some items, like sleds, are hard to wrap but the Pacelli students in charge of preparing these gifts for families are creative and thoughtful and they find amazing ways to prepare these gifts for their intended families. The gifts, ranging from bikes to the handmade quilts which were generously provided by the Queens Quilting Group and St. Edwards Quilting Group, were blessed during an all school Mass on Friday. Pacelli Alumni will then deliver these tokens of love to the families in time for Christmas.

With each passing year, the Christmas Basket Project has been able to touch lives and continues to serve as a reminder to have a thankful heart and of what the Christmas season is all about.  To learn more about Pacelli Catholic Schools and our mission, please visit our website at or reach out via email at

Additionally, Pacelli students will be collecting Christmas trees on Jan. 6. Contact us at 507-437-3278 or via email at to arrange for collection. Please ensure your tree is on the boulevard by 8 a.m., free of ornaments, lights, and tinsel. Free will donations are appreciated.