Student Santas to serve meal on Christmas Day in Cape Girardeau - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Student Santas to serve meal on Christmas Day in Cape Girardeau

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Something new is in the works for Christmas Day in Cape Girardeau.

Organizers from the Student Santas group are hosting a meal for those in need.

It will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Christmas in the cafeteria at Cape Junior High School.

Anyone who needs a meal, or is just looking for some companionship on Christmas is welcomed to attend.

Jennifer Icaza-Gast is the founder of the group, Student Santas.

The idea originated when she was teaching at Southeast Missouri State University.

She asked her students to bring in toys for extra credit, and the response was so overwhelming that they started their own charity.

Icaza-Gast says in 10 years the organization has been able to help 16,000 children.

They are written to by people from all over the state, but primarily in southeast Missouri.

Parents and children write requesting presents, diapers, and even food.

"This is our first year to feed people", said Icaza-Gast. "I got a letter from a 5-year-old boy who just wanted a meal for Christmas and that just broke my heart."

The event is expected to be staffed by about 70 volunteers.

Icaza-Gast says Santa will be making an appearance, and there will be a goody bag for all of the children who attend.

They are planning on feeding 400 people.

The meal will be catered by Ryan's and the Isle of Capri Casino. Mid-America Hotels is also sponsoring the event.

Those who would like to attend need to pick up a ticket at either Franklin or Jefferson Elementary schools from now until noon on December 19. After that tickets will be available at Ryan's.

"This is what Christmas is all about", said Icaza-Gast. "It's a wonderful blessing to be able to do that."

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