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Benedictine College is taking on the Christmas Toy Challenge in an effort to bring in more toys for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program than ever before. The college has invited the entire Atchison community to participate and bring joy to as many needy children as possible.

On Saturday, Dec. 4, anyone can bring a new, unwrapped toy to either the women’s basketball game at noon in the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium on the college campus, or the men’s basketball game at 2:00 p.m. in the same location. Anyone donating a toy will get free admission to the game.

Santa will also be on hand for the kids prior to the 2:00 p.m. game and there will be Christmas cookies and hot chocolate.

Following the men’s game, the attention shifts to the Atchison Christmas Parade of Lights. The parade will feature lighted floats and the Raven Regiment Marching Band in downtown Atchison.

The men’s basketball team first started collecting toys for the Salvation Army more than 10 years ago. The toy drive was the brainchild of the head men’s basketball coach, Ryan Moody, and his wife, Lisa.

“Lisa and I started the Christmas Toy drive 13 years ago in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and we are excited to be in year 11 in Atchison,” said Ryan Moody. “Wherever we have been, we have wanted to find a way to give back to our community and include the basketball program as well. The last 10 years the toy drive has grown each year… the Benedictine community has stepped up; the Atchison community has stepped up, as have many others.”

“Christmas is not all about toys, but for many it isn’t even an option,” Lisa Moody said. “We are happy to partner with the Atchison Salvation Army and provide that option to as many as we can. Thanks to our friends, fans, community members and students for making this the best Christmas Toy Drive yet.”

This year, both basketball teams, the Athletic Department, the College Ministry Service Team, Benedictine Residence Life, and the Student Alumni Board have all joined in the promotion of the event. There are contests between the residence halls and challenges from various sports teams, all geared to get the student body behind the drive. Winners of the campus challenge will be announced at halftime of the men’s game.

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