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How the Excelsior Springs Class of ’93 Makes the Holidays Brighter

The class of 1993 recently celebrated their 30th high school reunion at the Elks Lodge in Excelsior Springs (submitted photo).

Every holiday season, the Excelsior Springs High School alumni from the class of 1993 do something special. They’ve started a wonderful tradition of adopting a local family for the holidays, and it’s all about bringing cheer to families in their community who could really use a helping hand.

Chandra Hankins, one of the alumni, shared how it all works. Melanie Cravens, who lives in Excelsior Springs, reaches out to the school counselors, who know the families that could benefit the most—often single parents or grandparents working hard to raise their kids. The class then comes together virtually on their Facebook page and starts pooling resources. People send in donations through PayPal, Venmo, check, or even meet up to donate cash.

What’s really touching is how they go about shopping for these families. A group of classmates usually meet up to go out on a shopping trip together. They’re not just ticking items off a list; they’re genuinely thinking about what each family member, especially the kids, might love or need. And they don’t forget about the parents or grandparents. Usually, the caregivers don’t ask for anything, but the class makes sure to include a little something for them, too. Often, it’s practical things, like nice bed sheets or other quality household items that the families might not otherwise splurge on. Any funds that are left over are used to purchase gift cards to Price Chopper so the family can stock up on items and enjoy a good holiday meal.

A group 1993 alums out shopping for their adopt a family a few years ago. Left to right, Shelley Lane, Chanda Hankins, Melanie Cravens, Barbara Miller

The class of 1993 has a commitment to keeping things local. Many alumni are spread out now, but this project brings them back together, at least in spirit, to their hometown. This year, they even upped their game. They aimed to raise $1,200 for each family, but something extra special happened: a classmate donated Chiefs and Raiders tickets for the game on Christmas Day! The class has set up an online raffle to raise more money, opening up their fundraising to a much wider community, not just their class. Tickets are $25 each or 5 for $100. (Click on the link above or the image below to enter the raffle.) The generous donation from their classmate will allow the class of 93 to help not just one but two families this year.

The raffle for Chiefs vs. Raiders on Christmas Day will end on December 8th, and the drawing will be held on December 9th, 2023. The winner will be notified by phone and email. The attached photo from Arrowhead Stadium is the view from the seats. Tickets are $25 each or 5 for $100. Click on the image above to enter the raffle!

Chandra said this tradition isn’t just about giving gifts. She hopes it will create a positive ripple in a world where we hear so much negative news. “Maybe if other classes knew this was going on, they might get inspired to do something similar,” she said. It’s a reminder of the good that can happen when people come together. Plus, it’s a way for the alumni to stay connected with each other and their roots, no matter where life has taken them.

Just a sampling of the many gift items the class of 1993 has provided to local families over the years (submitted photos).

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