Thankful parents flocked to Glen Rose ISD Tuesday. While they struggle to make ends meet, Christmas morning will be a time of joy.
That joy was bundled up and delivered to each of the school district's campuses by the Christmas Express. It was then sent home to be placed beneath Christmas trees across the county.
"This is one of the most giving communities I have ever seen," Karla Swearengin, counselor at Glen Rose Intermediate, said.
This year, the school's Angel Tree program had 82 angels - each students at the campus whose families were in need of financial assistance to provide presents for their children.
"This is my seventh year here, and I have never not had enough donations," Swearengin said.
Debbie Morris, elementary school principal, said 110 angels hung from the campus' tree this year. Stephanie Rotan added another 60 at the junior high. Fifty-eight more called on assistance for high school students, according to Jill Lawson.
Each of the leaders of the school's Christmas Express programs said businesses and organizations like the Glen Rose Lions Club, United Fund of Somervell County, StoneWater Church, Luminant, Quicksilver, H&R Block, Aaron's Rents make the annual effort possible. And community members flock to Angel trees set up at the campuses and Town & Country Bank and Brookshire's - one lady adopts half a dozen every year, another shops for 10. And of course, school district personnel such as junior high English teacher Elaine Cates who uses the annual campaign as a two-fold lesson in community service and economics.
"Her students brought donations, started collecting money the week of Thanksgiving," Stephanie Rotan said. "She takes the students shopping and you would be amazed at everything they can buy on their allotted budgets."
Connie McCormick, high school speech and drama teacher, has students develop a business plan and allows them to sell their product - such as chocolate popcorn - to other students at lunchtime with all proceeds going to the Angel Tree.
The high school also hosts senior versus staff volleyball and basketball games with money raised benefiting the program. The new culinary arts program also served a catered lunch to teachers who paid for the chance to eat a good meal and lend a hand.
"We are able to have a lot of fun on campus activities," Lawson said.
At the end of it all, Morris said there is one thing certain at Christmastime.
"I don't believe there is a single child in Somervell County who is not going to have a very Merry Christmas," she said, adding Santa has too many helpers to name.