Students raised over $37,000 during Carbon Christmas in 2018.
Social media has been buzzing this week with questions regarding Carbon Christmas as the continuation of the annual fundraiser has been called into question.
Annually, the event raises thousands of dollars for those in need in the community. The fundraiser is headed by Carbon High student government members who help organize holiday-themed activities to gather donations.
Traditionally, the money is then used to provide Christmas gifts to children in need. Funds are also used to pay utility bills for those needing assistance as well as offsetting costs for cancer patients that must travel for treatment.
Popular fundraising activities conducted by students in the past have included singing Christmas carols at local businesses and the “Stuff the Bus” event to gather toys for local children. One of the trademark activities of Carbon Christmas is “Odd Jobs,” which is an activity where students visit homes in the community and offer to do chores for local residents in exchange for a donation. A job can range from taking out the trash to assisting with decorating a Christmas tree.
This week, posts on social media began to circulate stating that Carbon Christmas had been cancelled. A particular post that has gained traction and concern was posted by Mason Rogers, a graduate of Carbon High and former participant in the school’s student government. Rogers shared a heartfelt post that spoke of his involvement with the program in the past and stated that the Carbon School District halted the Carbon Christmas program.
“This was the most influential experience I have ever been a part of,” Rogers said about Carbon Christmas. “It has truly shaped me into the person I am today by teaching me how to put others’ needs in front of my own, as well as how to be humble and grateful for what I have. I have witnessed families cry as we hand them garbage bags filled with clothes, food, school supplies and Christmas gifts that they couldn’t afford without us.”
Following the circulation of Rogers’ post, the Carbon School District released the following statement:
“There is a social media post that is getting some attention that states, ‘Carbon County School District has mandated that Carbon High Student Government halt their 9th annual Carbon Christmas fundraiser.’ This statement is completely false. Carbon Christmas is still taking place. Please contact Carbon High School and their student government for more details regarding their plans.
Carbon School District believes in student participation in service to the community. However, we want that service to take place in a way that supports the mission and purpose of the school system. Carbon School District is also very concerned about the burden our community has expressed to us regarding the constant requests for fundraising that come to them through the school district. These and other considerations are taken into account when making decisions regarding fundraising in the district.”
It was announced on Wednesday morning by Rogers that former Carbon High student government alumni are forming a nonprofit titled “Coal Country Christmas,” which will separate the fundraising program from the district and move it into a community-based organization.
“Former student government alumni are coming together and forming a nonprofit, called Coal Country Christmas, with the same values and dedication to our community,” Rogers said. “This will effectively replace Carbon Christmas, cutting ties between the school completely. Same people, same values, no links to the school. We are currently filing paperwork to start the nonprofit and hopefully have events soon.”
A Facebook page titled “Coal Country Christmas” is already garnering support from the community.
Check back to ETV News for more information as it is released.