Baylor to Play Santa for Area Children

Nov. 20, 1998

by Lori Scott Fogleman

More than 700 preschool children will be on the Baylor University campus Thursday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon for the annual Santa's Workshop, sponsored by the Baylor Staff Council, the athletic department, student activities and ARAMARK. Because of overwhelming support from staff, faculty and students, the event this year has been moved to Russell Gym to accommodate more children.

Each year, about 400 children ages 3¡5 have enjoyed the food, gifts and interaction with Baylor student¡athletes at Santa's Workshop. An additional 300 children from local daycare centers have been invited this year.

"It's just the best thing in the world to see the little kids' faces. For some, this will be the only toy they get this Christmas," said Liz Webb, administrative assistant in the department of student activities.

Hundreds of Baylor students volunteer their time for Santa's Workshop. They collect and sort the toy donations, spend countless hours wrapping presents, and on that Thursday morning, hand out gifts to children, many of whom come from needy homes in McLennan County.

"It's a very humbling experience for our students," Webb said. "They find that they're helping kids who aren't as fortunate as they were growing up, and they enjoy knowing they're reaching into the community in a positive way."

Children will have the chance to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who make a special appearance every year at Santa's Workshop. They will also enjoy food, donated by ARAMARK, and meet with Baylor cheerleaders, songleaders and student¡athletes representing many of Baylor's sports teams.

"I think it's an opportunity for them [athletes] to be a blessing to others," said Steve Smith, head coach of the Baylor baseball team, "but often it's the players themselves who get the real blessing by helping out in something like this."

The department of student activities will take donations of new, unwrapped toys for children ages 3¡5 until Nov. 25. Drop boxes for toy donations are located throughout the Baylor campus. Monetary donations are also being accepted at the student activities office in the Bill Daniel Student Center.

For more information on Santa's Workshop, call the department of student activities at 710¡2371.

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