The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Santa’s Wonderland makes a difference through local charitable service

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Santa’s Wonderland is the largest Christmas attraction in Texas as it features over a million lights

Santa’s Wonderland is spreading the holiday joy in a variety of ways, including their charitable services program, “Heart Light.”
Santa’s Wonderland, a holiday-themed amusement park in College Station, assists those in deed locally and nationally by hosting multiple fundraising events. These events include a toy drive, fun runs and a campaign called “Cocoa for a Cause,” which raises money through hot chocolate sales.
Cocoa for a Cause is an opportunity to donate to the park’s signature charities, which include Aggieland Humane Society, Long Way Home Adoptables and Scotty’s House. Each weekend, there is a different charity beneficiary. Santa’s Wonderland also hosts a season-long toy drive for Lone Star Santas, a group that assists families who have been impacted by natural disasters.
Sarah Callaway, the senior marketing manager at Santa’s Wonderland, said each charity the park works with is special.
“All of our charity partnerships are with places that do good in this community,” Callaway said. “They’re charities that are trying to better the world. That’s what we’re all about. We just want to see people smile and be happy. Every single one of the charities has a purpose that’s wonderful.”
Deryl Mackenzie, a member of Lone Star Santas, said the Santas try to help with the unhappiness many children face after being hurt by a natural disaster.
“Our charity is a convoy of toys,” Mackenzie said. “We go into disaster areas that have been wiped out by floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, explosions and take brand new toys to the kids. Once you see the smile and the joy on a child’s face, it’s something that you can’t even describe because we love the kids so much. We want them to be happy.”
Mackenzie said Santa’s Wonderland has been a huge contributor that allows the organization to continue their work.
“Last Christmas Eve, they gave us a check for $10,000,” Mackenzie said. “When we had all the disasters from Hurricane Harvey, they gave us an additional $25,000 check. We also get toys because as people come into the park, many of them bring toys to donate.”
Callaway said the park also works very closely with the Brazos Valley Food Bank to provide meals for the hungry people in our area.
“The food bank has such an impact on our community,” Callaway said. “It’s incredible. It’s honestly shocking how many pounds of food they provide and how many families they are able to feed.”
Each year, Santa’s Wonderland hosts a fun run weekend and gives a portion of the proceeds to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. Theresa Mangapora, the executive director of BVFB said the proceeds have helped thousands of people.
“We can take a dollar donated and distribute six pounds of food, or the equivalent of five meals,” Mangapora said. “That’s a purchasing power that most people don’t have. So donations with us really go far. Most of the years, we’ve gotten $5,000 from the race. Last year it was $7,500 and this year it was $10,000. It makes a huge impact.”
Mangapora said she is grateful for Santa’s Wonderland and the charity work that they do all season long.
“I just think it’s wonderful that Santa’s Wonderland offers up these opportunities,” Mangapora said. “They are a private business that doesn’t have to give any money back and help. These are just causes that are near and dear to their heart. There’s just something about them.”

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  • Santa’s Wonderland periodically donates their hot chocolate profits to various local charities.

    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett
  • Santa’s Wonderland offers a family friendly Christmas attraction and great opportunities for family photos.

    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett
  • Live music and festive celebrations fill every avenue at Santa’s Wonderland in College Station. 

    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett
  • A couple poses for their Christmas card photo in front of the Texas flag at Santa’s Wonderland.

    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett
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