The Waxahachie Indian Baseball RBI Club is once again partnering with Waxahachie ISD Athletics in a Christmas toy drive to help benefit children involved with Common Ground Ministry and Texas Baptist Home.

This year, the toy drive is expanding, and Waxahachie ISD Athletic Director Greg Reed encourages community members to partake in giving. To allow this, the central location to drop off gifts is at Paul Richards Park. Unwrapped presents will be accepted on Dec. 6 from 7 — 9 p.m.

Donations to the toy drive are going a long way, reaching a few hundred children, each in different situations.

This isn’t the first year for WISD Athletics to partner with the RBI Club on the toy drive. Reed explained every year it seems to grow and each athletic program has done its part to help.

Reed also noted one of the core values of the department is stewardship.

“We want to make sure they understand giving always becomes a priority this time of year, it’s the Christmas season and Thanksgiving. But this goes beyond just this month,” he said. “[...] I’m proud that our students are involved in it and that our coaches embraced it and they want to go out and share and be part of something bigger than themselves.”

Common Ground Ministry is a tutoring-and-administrative facility on the east side of town, catering to 30 children from low-income families. Toys donated in the drive will go toward the ministry’s Christmas store: Christmas with Dignity.

Stacie Dixon, director at Common Ground, explained, “It’s a big deal for our families. It really helps them. This is the way to be able to provide for their kid for Christmas. So, any help is a big deal.”

At the Christmas store, parents can purchase presents for a third of the retail price. It will be open from 9 — 11 a.m. for families with Common Ground and will be open to others who need additional help this Christmas from 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.

Presents for this organization should range from warm clothing, balls, and bicycles to dolls and craft sets. The ages range from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Dixon said the gifts that are left over from the Christmas store will be donated to the organization Night of Wonder, which is another group that benefits low-income families in Waxahachie ISD.

Children with Texas Baptist will be given a unique Christmas from the donations as well. The drive will directly help the foster-care-and-adoption agency give their children presents to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Marketing Director at Texas Baptist Home, Jennifer Walker said, “At Christmas time we have about 100 plus kids to provide for and so any donations especially local community donations they are always such a blessing to us and our kids, because it’s usually kids also in the community as well.”

She said one-third of the children are from Ellis County.

Ages range from infants to teenagers at Texas Baptist, but Walker did emphasize on buying for teens. She suggested purchasing scarves, hats, warm clothes, sporting equipment, makeup and gift cards for the older kids.

“We have a lot of younger kid gifts but sometimes for our teenagers, we don’t have enough for them,” Walker said.

Every year the kids at Texas Baptist have a Christmas celebration and the toy drive really helps get the kids excited when they receive a gift from their wish list from the general items that are donated.

Walker said, “For a lot of them, it’s the first time for them being away from their families and their normal routine, so being in foster care can be hard, so this is just a bright light on their time here.”