St. Martin teen adopts seven families for Christmas - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

St. Martin teen adopts seven families for Christmas

Brianna Ladnier is heading up a toy drive for seven needy families in the St. Martin School District.  (Photo source: WLOX) Brianna Ladnier is heading up a toy drive for seven needy families in the St. Martin School District. (Photo source: WLOX)
Ladnier is collecting toys at the high school, while other chapters across the state are contributing monetary donations. (Photo source: WLOX) Ladnier is collecting toys at the high school, while other chapters across the state are contributing monetary donations. (Photo source: WLOX)
ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) -

When a St. Martin teen heard about families in the school district that couldn't afford Christmas gifts for their children, she took action. She not only got her school involved, but also other groups from across the state. Brianna Ladnier is creating Christmas magic for children in need.

"This is really neat. Wow!" one student commented as he held up a toy.

Their eyes lit up the moment they saw the toys under the tree. But, the St. Martin High students won't be receiving the stuffed animals, bike, art kits and games. They were actually sorting the pile of gifts for families in need.

Brianna Ladnier took on the challenge of adopting seven struggling families whose children attend schools in St. Martin. She was nervous at first about the number of children on the list, 20 in all, until she read their wishes.

"These kids are writing things down like, 'I want a pair of socks. I want shoes. I want a new pair of pajamas. I want some khakis to wear to school'.  It was really heartbreaking," said Brianna.

As president of the Future Business Leaders of America at the school, Brianna asked other clubs to donate gifts and turned to social media to seek donations. She didn't stop there. Brianna is also the president of the state FBLA, so she invited other chapters to pitch in.

"I thought the more we have our community involved with it, the more we can have donations and the more people we can bring into this and we can really make this an amazing project," said Brianna.

Brianna's goal is to raise $1,000 by Sunday, so she can buy more presents. So far, the school and a GoFundMe account have collected more than $700.

"I love it! I love her spirit, her willingness to go forward and not give up just because the adults didn't think it was possible. She wants to try everything possible to make Christmas happen for the children," said St. Martin High FBLA Adviser Banita Ford. 

"It makes me feel very happy that I'm actually able to go into the community and give all these children toys," said Brianna. "I feel amazing that there are people walking around the school that I see every day and now, they can be a little bit happier because of this one thing that I did."

To encourage the spirit of giving, Brianna's mom told the students at St. Martin High if they raised $500, she will match up to $500.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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