Two Casper Women Ensure Natrona County Students In Need Don’t Go Without Each Christmas
You've probably not heard their names before. They prefer to stay in the background; Santa's shop, if you will. But two women named Greta Hinderliter and Teresa Boomer make sure, every year, that Natrona County students don't go without for Christmas.
The Natrona County School District recently profiled these two women who are as close to 'Santa's Little Helpers' as one can get.
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," wrote Tanya Southerland, Director of Public Relations for the Natron County School District. "Wrapping, laughter, and joy abound...you’ll find two of Santa’s very best helpers busy at work when you walk through the doors."
Maybe they're whistling. Maybe they're singing. Maybe they're just swapping stories. But they're also hard at work making sure that at least some of the students in the Natrona County School District don't go without every Christmas season.
"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," Southerland wrote. "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."
And the project that it is today is...spectacular.
“Not only did we see more requests from students in need, but we also saw a greater interest from people who wanted to help," Hinderliter said. "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."
According to the release from Southerland, Boomer works to build connections with schools in order to help support the confidential project each year.
“Shoppers will never know who they are getting gifts for," Boomer said. "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.”
Last year, the need was for 300 NCSD students. This year, it has nearly doubled. The project hopes to provide a little Christmas joy to 500 children.
“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," Hinderliter said. "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. 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.”
But, Greta Hinderliter and Teresa Boomer can't do it alone. They need a little bit of help from the community, as well. Luckily, they live in a community that responds in kind.
If you would like to help Greta and Teresa, if you'd like to help ensure that NCSD students don't go without this Christmas, you can email either one of them, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 307-253-3185.
The release ntoed that deliveries will begin to schools the week of December 13, but there is still plenty of time to reach out to learn more about ways to help.
"Every gift counts, big or small, as all gifts are sure to bring a smile of joy and a sprinkle of holiday magic," Southerland wrote.
The release noted a few common items that many students have asked for, including:
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 you can arrange a pickup by emailing Greta or Teresa.