Winter Extravaganza is back and WHS stuffed the bus.
During the 2nd Annual Winter Extravaganza and Stuff the Bus held Dec. 9 by Waxahachie High School, donation items were collected to benefit local organizations in the Ellis County area.
"Last year we started it because the bonfire got canceled and the kids wanted to do something to replace the bonfire. We really wanted to start a new tradition. So we started a senior tradition," shared Waxahachie High School Principal Tonya Harris. "What it is, is it's sponsored by our senior class. For about a month, they encourage people to donate scarves and hats and gloves and socks and blankets and canned nonperishable food items. We donate all that stuff to local area charities."
This year, the event went from 7 to 8 p.m., when they received donation items such as food, coats, socks, hats, gloves, toys and blankets. However, seniors began accepting donations in mid-November. Students collected donations and stuffed them into one large school bus.
"The next morning, we got up and divided the food items and the warm items. We take those to Waxahachie Care," Harris said. "The toys go to Common Ground Ministries, and they have their little store where families that are kind of down in a rut can come in and shop and get toys for their kids."
Common Ground Ministries is a Christian outreach to children and youth in Waxahachie. The group's annual Christmas store allows families in the ministry to shop for Christmas presents at a third of the normal price, making it more affordable.
"Thank you to all who donated, volunteered and shopped at the store this year! It was truly the best we’ve ever had before!," shared Common Ground Ministries through social media.
The rest of the donations were given to Waxahachie Care, a 501(c)3 organization that provides food and financial assistance to neighbors in need.
"The Winter Extravaganza was a great success," shared Harris. "Each year this event grows, and we look forward to expanding the event in the coming years. ... We received so much. We received everything from bicycles, to games, to socks and gloves. There's no way for us to know. We started in November, and we did it until the day of the event, and then that night people from the community were still bringing these items."
If the COVID-19 pandemic is gone next year, Harris hopes to expand the annual school event.