School District 49’s bus drivers decked the halls of the transportation building. They turned their facility into a holiday-themed venue for 52 students on Dec. 2. The students, ages 5 through 8, were from underprivileged families and recommended by their D49 school for the special guest list.
Students were picked up bright and early by bus drivers and transported to the event known as Santa’s Toy Express, where they were first treated to a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and sausage.
Once tummies were full, attendees loaded back onto buses for a trip to Walmart, where, with the help of adult volunteers, they received gift cards to shop for their family members.
After shopping, buses returned students and volunteers to D49 headquarters, where they wrapped their gifts.
And no holiday party would be complete without a visit from the jolliest of them all, Santa, who arrived on a fire truck from the Falcon Fire Department to delight all the children.
“We do this every year to assist students and families facing hardships during the holiday season,” Shauna Orth, Transportation Manager, said. “It’s all about spreading Christmas cheer.”
The merry festivities included a puppet show, coloring, and crafts, and before students loaded buses to return home, they were each given a big bag with several presents for themselves.
The event is in its 22nd year and is organized by the transportation department. D49 staff and family members, community partners, and JROTC cadets from Falcon High School serve as volunteers at the event.
A special thank you goes to the D49 staff, the FHS JROTC program, and the following businesses who generously contributed to the event: Bryan Construction, Dependable Field Mowing, FBT Architects, Higher Horizon Counseling, McCandless Trucking Center, Nunn Construction, RTA Architects, Swirly Cow Frozen Yogurt, and Wember, Inc.