Being a kid during the Christmas season often means dreaming about what presents you’ll get. Sure, kids love spending time with family and watching The Polar Express for the 27th time, but anticipation builds until the moment they get to rip open every box under the tree with their name on it. For some families though, especially this year, buying Christmas gifts is a luxury they really can’t afford. Every parent wants to watch their kids shriek with joy after opening the present they’ve been dreaming about for months – but realistically, having food and a warm place to live is the priority.
Renee Dixson is the teacher all of us wanted as kids, the kind that cares deeply about her students and would go to bat in a heartbeat for every single one of them. She’s the preschool director at Lynhurst Baptist Church in Indiana, and she knows just how hard this year has been on her students and their families.
Because of COVID, many of her students’ family members have lost their jobs, and more families than ever before are relying on food banks for survival. Dixson knows her students, especially the ones whose families are struggling, deserve to have an exciting Christmas. Kids aren’t ready for the harsh realities of life – especially preschool-age kids who see their friends showing off their Christmas loot, those students aren’t fully able to comprehend that buying Christmas gifts just isn’t doable for their families this year.
Rather than helping her students cope with having a giftless Christmas, this superhero of a woman started driving for Uber to bring in some extra cash. Every dollar she earned went to buying Christmas gifts for her 50 students, and even her staff members.
Dixson vowed to work up until Christmas eve, whatever it took to ensure none of her students went without this year. Though she’s a mother and grandmother herself, Dixson has been pouring her time and energy into kids who need her more right now. After her community caught wind of Dixson’s admirable mission, donations poured in to help her purchase the gifts.
“I always wanted to be that teacher that I never had,” Dixson told WTHR. “I know how it feels to be down as a child because your parent doesn’t have anything.”
“I have to do this because if I don’t do it for these children, then I let them down.”