"If you listen closely, you’ll hear the joyful sounds of laughter and holiday spirit spilling out of a small classroom tucked away in the corner of NCSD’s Student Support Services building. Wrapping, laughter, and joy abound...you’ll find two of Santa’s very best helpers busy at work when you walk through the doors."

For the last 15 years, Greta Hinderliter and Theresa Boomer have created their very own holiday workshop where they spend countless hours working to bring joy to NCSD students in need said a recent email from the Natrona County School District.

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What started as a small project to provide food and other basic necessities to homeless students over the holiday break grew into the project it is today as word got out of the opportunity.

“Not only did we see more requests from students in need, but we also saw a greater interest from people who wanted to help. Times can be really tough over the holidays. For some families, they may be choosing between paying for electricity or gas and might not have the funds for gifts under the tree. Everything we do is 100% donation based. It really warms my heart to see people in our community come together to help provide children with a little bit of holiday cheer,” said Greta.

Between wrapping gifts and shopping, Teresa works to build connections with schools to help support the confidential project each year.

“Shoppers will never know who they are getting gifts for. And the kids will never know, either. We work with the parents to get the child’s list. We then provide the wrapped gifts to the parents, and they get to put them under the tree. We just want to help families who may be struggling during the holiday. Hopefully, this gives them something to hold on to and a little bit of happiness.”

This year, the project hopes to provide over 500 children with a bit of holiday joy, which is up from about 300 children last year.

“We ask them for a “want” and a “need,” and it is heartbreaking to see that often what they ask for as a want, and a need, are basic necessities such as food, socks, coats, hats, or hygiene items. But, of course, they’re still kids and young adults, so we also see a lot of requests for things like art supplies, lego sets, books, makeup sets, journals, and stuffed animals,” said Greta.

“It’s heartwarming to know together with our community, we can help give these students a little bit of joy and happiness that they so very much deserve.”

There are still many students left to shop for, so if you would like to become one of “Santa’s helpers,” please contact greta_hinderliter@natronaschools.org or theresa_boomer@natronaschools.org or call 253-3185.

Deliveries will begin to schools the week of December 13th, but there is still plenty of time to reach out to learn more about how you can help. Every gift counts, big or small, as all gifts are sure to bring a smile of joy and a sprinkle of holiday magic.

If you are out and about shopping and want to pick up just an item or a few, some common things on lists that students ask for are:

  • Sweatshirts, hoodies, socks, hats, fleece pajamas - of all sizes PreK-12th grade

  • Legos, makeup sets, art kits, books, stuffed animals, hygiene items, dolls, toy cars, journals, soft blankets

Donations can be dropped off at Student Support Services or picked-up by emailing Greta or Theresa.

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