With the holiday season in full swing, the Hannibal Central School District is doing its part to ensure students have food to eat and gifts under the tree on December 25.
In collaboration with local businesses, organizations and community members, the school district recently hosted its sixth annual Christmas Bureau Carnival at Dennis M. Kenney Middle School.
The Hannibal Christmas Bureau is a nonprofit organization that began nearly 50 years ago with a mission of helping families in need during the holiday season.
Since it was founded, the school district has taken an active role in the charitable efforts, with the carnival serving as the largest fundraising event.
According to Dom Pike, a teacher at Hannibal High School and carnival organizer, the event gives adults a chance to win gift baskets as part of a Chinese auction and it allows kids to enjoy carnival games, all while benefiting needy district residents.
“The kids have fun, but it goes beyond that,” Pike said. “This event has raised anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000. Last year we were able to provide food and toys for 151 families. This year, we have more than 165 families and will be able to provide toys for more than 300 children.”
While tickets for the carnival games help raise some money, the bulk of the funds are generated from the basket raffles.
This year, teachers, administrators, entire classes, board of education members and people throughout the community created baskets filled with everything from gift certificates to technology gadgets.
“The donations are overwhelming,” Pike said. “Everyone helps out. Students from the National Honor Society, the Varsity Club and other school groups give up their Saturday to work the carnival. We have 35 students volunteering their time. This is a great school district and a great community, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”
Pike noted that organizers will use the funds from the carnival to buy toys and food for needy families.
The goods were arranged in baskets and delivered to recipients Dec. 19, just in time for Christmas.