CGA students make Christmas brighter

Jan Garrison

Gifts for 43 children


December 10, 2020

The Culver Girls Academy prep hockey team, along with girls in Atrium and Harbor dorms, have made Christmas a little brighter for several area families this year. The girls joined to sponsor the families through The Culver Community Gift Basket Program, which is in its 21st year of operation.

Over the past years, the boarding school has supported the program in various ways. In 2019, Dana Rodgers ’20 and Ryan Tompos ’20 brought seven dorms and units together to sponsor 10 families – including 18 children. Tompos then enlisted Military Activities to assist with the transportation of the presents and several students, faculty, and staff members assisted with the packing and distribution of the gifts.

This year, leadership instructor Nancy McKinnis was contacted by Union Twp. Trustee Marlene Mahler, who heads the program. Because of the burden the pandemic has placed on community, Mahler said she was looking for more groups to sponsor families and children.

McKinnis presented the idea to the CGA Leadership Training prefects during a recent committee meeting. That resulted with Zoe Lohrie ’21 taking the concept to the hockey team; Kristen Elsaden ’21 chairing Atrium’s annual tradition to support two families; and Katie Quigg’21 leading Harbor’s sponsorship of one family.


CGA prep hockey players wrapping presents on Saturday.


The guidelines provide for spending approximately $50 per child, which will cover the gifts, including one or two toys and clothes. Military Activities will again supply two trucks and adult drivers this weekend (Dec. 11-12) to assist in the collection and distribution of the food and gifts to the families.

The three CGA groups will again be supporting 10 families with 43 children. The breakdown is:

  • Prep hockey and coaches – seven families with 27 children, ages 18 months – 19 years;
  • Atrium – two families with 11 children;
  • And Harbor – one family with five children.

This year, The Culver Community Christmas Basket Program is needed more than ever. Many working families do not have enough to pay bills, buy groceries, and cover household expenses. Providing Christmas for the children would not be possible without community support.

“Community organizations like Culver Academies are contributing to local efforts that will serve 132 households (196 adults and 233 children) in the local Culver Community School district,” Mahler said. Support comes from individuals, churches, schools, service organizations, and businesses. Donations range from several thousand dollars to “a $10 donation one woman contributes every single year,” she added.

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