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South Phoenix principal collecting donations so all her students get a Christmas gift

"It blew me away that my little post on my personal page has now gotten so far, just thank you to everyone who has helped," Principal Holena Lebron said.

PHOENIX — A south Phoenix principal is wearing a second hat as Santa this holiday season.

Minus the red suit and sleigh, there will be plenty of presents to go around thanks to principal Holena Lebron.

Lebron set what she calls a 'big audacious goal' to raise money and collect donations to ensure all 340 of her students in grades K-8 have a Christmas gift this year.

She's been the principal at C.J. Jorgensen for two years. 

Credit: Holena Lebron

A social media post she made a few days ago calling for donations has taken off. 

"It blew me away that my little post on my personal page has now gotten so far, just thank you to everyone who has helped," Lebron said.

Community members then shared the post and started shopping. Lebron's goal is already almost halfway met. 

"We have received books, footballs, basketballs, makeup kits, brushes, little toys, bracelet kits, and all kinds of arts and crafts," she said.

But she's still in need of approximately 200 more presents.

"The holidays are my favorite time of the year because we see the best of people and I want to make sure my kids feel the love too," Lebron said. "Thank you all for supporting my wild dream and ensuring my kids leave school with warm and fuzzies before winter break so we just appreciate you."

Lebron said it's more important than ever that these kids feel joy.

"There is a definite need," she said. "COVID-19 has impacted so many families in so many different ways, we have students who have experienced direct loss, and we have parents who have lost employment."

The plan is for the kids to pick their present on December 17, but it's a surprise.

"The last day before winter break we're going to have a cute festival, we're going to put the gifts on tables and kids are going to come out by grade level," Lebron said. "We'll have popcorn and candy canes and they'll be able to get their gifts, we're so excited to see smiles on faces."

If you want to donate, reach out to Lebron at Holena.lebron@rsd66.org

She's asking that all donations be made by December 10 and to not wrap the gifts.

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