Athletics staff, student-athletes provide gifts to local families amid pandemic

Notre Dame Athletics, in partnership with the South Bend Community School Corp. (SBCSC), hosted a drive-thru version of its annual gift-giving event, “A Brighter Christmas,” on Sunday (Dec. 6) at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Now in its 10th year, “A Brighter Christmas” pairs groups and individuals within Athletics, including staff, coaches and student-athletes, with SBCSC families that need help during the holidays putting food on the table and presents under the tree. The event, which typically takes place inside of the arena and includes a meal and ice skating, was scaled back this year because of the pandemic.

Still, staff and student-athletes, including coaches and administrators from multiple departments and programs, provided toys and other gifts to 22 low-income McKinley Elementary School families by contactless pickup.

Staff at McKinley, a dual language magnet school in South Bend and part of the SBCSC, identified the families and gathered the wish lists.

“This event is a favorite here at Compton,” said Molly Mahoney, programming and events program coordinator at Compton Family Ice Arena and lead organizer of the event. “It is wonderful watching our student-athletes and coaches interact with the families. The joy this event brings to everyone involved is immeasurable.”

This year’s event involved 33 adults and 53 children. Groups typically spend $50 to $100 per person on gifts, including toys, electronics and gift cards to local grocery stores.

Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127,

Originally published by Erin Blasko at on December 10, 2020.