Story in pictures — St. Ann students in Prairie Village prepare 195 ‘Red Bag’ gifts for foster kids

Red Bags St. Ann

St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village is sending gift-filled red bags to 195 foster children this holiday season. Above, eighth grade students help load a truck with the red bags filled with toys, clothing and other items donated by St. Ann families parishioners. Photo credits Juliana Garcia.

St. Ann Catholic School is sending 195 foster children holiday gifts this year.

The school is continuing its more than 30-year holiday tradition of participating in the Red Bags KC program, which was started in 1984 by Daniel Jacobs, a former St. Ann Catholic Church parishioner and foster child himself.

St. Ann students and families collect toys, stuffed animals, games, clothing and personal care items in the run up to the day in early December when those items are stuffed into Santa-like read bags and delivered.

Tammy Laudan and Linda Cosgrove, Red Bag co-chairs, organize the annual red bag drive at St. Ann.

Laudan says the phrase “red bag week” is all it takes to get the ball rolling on donations.

“We’ve been doing it for so long, all I do is send a letter out that it’s red bag week, and the next day I get like 30 requests [for family adoptions],” Laudan said.

Eighth graders at St. Ann fill each distinctive red bag with gift-wrapped presents and load the bags onto a delivery truck.

Here’s what “red bag day” at St. Ann looked like this year:

Red Bags St. Ann
The pre-packaged red bags fill the halls of St. Ann.
St. Ann eighth grade students
Eighth grade students line up in front of the school to get directions on how to load the truck.
Red Bag check in
Students check in with one of the two co-chairs to cross each red bag and corresponding child off the list.
St. Ann Red Bag carrying gift
After checking in, St. Ann students start taking bags — or presents, like the one above — onto the truck.
Student carries red bag
The entire school helps with shopping for the red bags and adopting families, but eighth graders are the ones who get to help make the red bags and load them.
Sophia Nguyen red bag St. Ann.
Students like Sophia Nguyen, above, look forward to red bag week — and more importantly, to being the eighth graders who can load the truck up. “I’m happy that I get to help out other people because Christmas is a really important holiday to me,” Nguyen said.
St. Ann red bag truck
As eighth graders bring bags to the truck, some helpers start stacking the bags to ensure all can fit in the U-Haul.
St. Ann eighth grade pic
After the truck is loaded, students gather around for a group picture.
Tammy Laudan and Linda Cosgrove
The truck will take the red bags to the Ball Center in Olathe. From there, the red bags will be delivered to social workers on Saturday, Dec. 4. Social workers will deliver the right bag to the right foster home so each child gets it. Above, Laudan (left) and Cosgrove (right) with the filled truck.