‘This is our faith in action’: St. Ann students make Christmas bright for nearly 200 less fortunate kids

Eighth graders Joe Staker and Maggie Reintjes are among the St. Ann students who have been participating in the parish’s annual Red Bag initiative since they were in grade school.

Thirty five years ago, St. Ann Catholic Church parishioner Daniel Jacobs came up with an idea to make the holidays a little brighter for metro area families in need.

With the help of local outreach organizations, the church identifies kids who wouldn’t be able to get Christmas gifts otherwise and sets about assembling big bags full of clothing, toys and personal items. Some of the giftees are served by individual families. Others are served by classrooms that choose a giftee to adopt.

The Red Bag project, which is currently administered by St. Ann moms Tammy Laudan and Linda Cosgrove, this year served nearly 200 KC area kids. On Friday, St. Ann families brought in the Red Bags they had put together for their giftees this year, filling up the hallway in the school building. Before noon, a massive truck came to pick the bags up and ready them for delivery to their recipients.

Eighth graders Maggie Reintjes and Joe Staker said the Red Bags have been a beloved tradition during their time at the school.

“I’ve been doing it every year since kindergarten,” Staker said. “It’s a good way to help the less fortunate so they can enjoy Christmas just like us.”

Reintjes said her family usually selected giftees that are about the ages of the kids in her own family.

“It’s really fun to do the shopping and know that they’ll be getting stuff for Christmas this year and experience the joy just like we do,” she said.

St. Ann Catholic School principal Mike Riley said he was proud of the parish’s generosity this year, serving nearly 200 kids. In recent years, the parish has put together around 150 Red Bags.

“I just love how our students and families have come together on this for all these years,” Riley said. “This is our faith in action.”