Benedictine Students Collect Hundreds of Toys for the Salvation Army

Benedictine Students Collect Hundreds of Toys in Annual Christmas Toy Challenge

Benedictine Students with more than 200 toys they collected for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.

The Benedictine College Christmas Toy Challenge, sponsored by the men’s and women’s basketball teams, netted a mountain of toys for the Atchison Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program this year. In addition, the Benedictine College Black Student Union (BSU) sponsored the Atchison Giving Tree Project, with funds raised going to help local families during Christmas.

The Christmas Toy Challenge featured an on-campus competition among student groups, along with additional donations from faculty, staff and Atchison community members. The event brought in more than 200 toys and specifically fulfilled 100 Salvation Army Angel Tree tags!

“This is the 11th year we’ve done this toy drive here in Atchison and it has been the most successful yet,” said Ryan Moody, the men’s head basketball coach at Benedictine. “Everyone on campus and in the Atchison community stepped up to make Christmas a little brighter for a lot of local kids. I would especially like to thank the College Ministry Service Team, the Student Alumni Board, the Residence Life staff, the Athletic Department Staff, and the players on the women’s and men’s basketball teams who all worked together to make this happen.”

Moody and his wife, Lisa, a current Atchison City Commissioner, started the toy drive in Grand Forks, North Dakota, 13 years ago when Ryan was an assistant basketball coach at the University of North Dakota. They brought the drive to Atchison in 2011 when Ryan took the head coaching job at Benedictine.

This year, both basketball teams, the Athletic Department, the College Ministry Service Team, Benedictine Residence Life, and the Student Alumni Board all joined in the promotion of the event. To inspire giving, Benedictine gave free admission to the men’s basketball game or the women’s basketball game on December 4 for anyone who brought in a new, unwrapped toy. In addition, the college sponsored competitions between residence halls and athletic teams to see who could bring in the most toys. The women of St. Martin’s Memorial Hall won that competition.

The BSU set up and promoted a GoFundMe page and raised more than $2,500 for its Atchison Giving Tree Project. That amount will go to five local Atchison families in need and will provide funds for food and clothing, as well as toys and stocking stuffers for the children. 

"As a child, I personally wasn't able to have the best Christmas," said Solomon Wallace, BSU president, in an interview in the Atchison Globe. "I knew that if I were put in a position to help others, that's something I would want to do knowing that it's something God would want of me as well."

Members of the group felt like it was a great start to what should be an annual event. It directly helped local people in need and showed an example to young people of what can be accomplished with drive and vision.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.