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A 'Secret Santa' continues tradition of donating gifts, partnering with student 'elves' to ensure kids have Christmas presents

The Secret Santa, who doesn't want to be identified, says she does it because it makes her happy knowing 100 children will have something to open on Christmas.

MAUMEE, Ohio — The need is big during this season of giving. 

A "Secret Santa" is stepping in and working with Maumee High School students to give back to families who may not have the means to give themselves.

But this gift really isn't about the recognition, as the Secret Santa didn't want the credit and didn't want to show her face.

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She and the Maumee High School students chipping in to bring some cheer know what it feels like to celebrate the holidays with a few presents. And they're preparing the Christmas presents to be delivered to 100 children who may have otherwise gone without.

"We're just kinda wrapping presents for families in need, families who've got a financial need for their kids," said Maumee senior Mikayla Thebeau.

It's the ninth year this Secret Santa has teamed up with MHS students. She donates the gifts and the students wrap them. 

"Part of the purpose in letting them wrap, having them wrap, is it's giving them an opportunity to do community service and have a fun time doing it; learning that not all volunteerism is laborious," she explained.

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These presents will go to kids between the ages of 2 and 10.

Each will get a handful of gifts they may have never seen without this act of generosity that's inspiring a new generation.

"It's just a few hours of our time. But it might be memories forever for these children," said Hyeongu Hwang, a senior helping wrap gifts. 

"It's like a sense of hope for them. Because this year has already been so rough. And so just getting like a little gift makes them really happy," added Disha Patel, a junior also helping wrap gifts. 

But why does Secret Santa do it?

She says she was raised knowing you always help one another out. 

"Raised as a child with not a lot, I wouldn't have qualified into this, but never had a whole lot. But my mother always volunteered. My mother always provided. She was always the one baking the cookies," the woman said.

She may never meet the families on the other end of her gifts, but for Secret Santa and the students, the joy is knowing they've done something for someone else. 

"Makes me feel really good actually. Knowing that there's kids out there who feel like I do on Christmas morning. Happy and you know, just feeling loved," said Thebeau.

"When I was a kid, and I opened gifts for Christmas, I was ecstatic. The fact that we can have these children have the same opportunity. I think is very cool," added Hwang.

Secret Santa also wants to inspire others to give this holiday season. 

She says she hopes these students may one day want to become a secret Santa to someone else in need. 

And she wants you to know it doesn't take a lot to make a difference. 

You just have to be willing to ask and volunteer. 

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