Each holiday season, photographer Heidi Schroeder holds an event to benefit a local charity.
Schroeder is the owner of Blush Pictures, a photography studio based out of Waupaca with a location in New London.
This time, Schroeder chose Project Backpack to be the benefiting charity.
During her annual Santa & Me Experience Charity Event, Santa visited her studio, and children got to spend about 15 minutes with him.
They read with him, told him what they wanted for Christmas and also shared a cookie with him.
The families left the event with memories and pictures.
Participants signed up ahead of time and paid a fee, with a portion of the fee going to the charity.
Along with the fee, they also brought something for the charity Schroeder chose.
In addition to supporting Project Backpack, Schroeder also chose to collect items for children in need who attend Waupaca Learning Center, as well as items for their families.
Blush Pictures donated $500 to Project Backpack and collected more than 125 pairs of underwear and hundreds of shower products, games, toys, gloves, socks, sweatshirts, deodorants, toothbrushes and toothpaste to donate to the school.
Project Backpack began in 2010 and is now serving more than 270 children each week.
Over the course of the 2013-14 school year, Project Backpack volunteers packed a total of 7,375 backpacks with food for students in need from four area school districts.
The students attend Chain O’ Lakes Elementary School, Waupaca Learning Center, Waupaca Middle School, Waupaca High School, Waupaca Accelerated Learning Center, Waupaca Head Start, Weyauwega Elementary School, Fremont Elementary School, Iola-Scandinavia Elementary School and Amherst’s elementary, middle and high schools.
The number of children being served by the program continues to grow, and those interested in donating toward the project may contact its volunteers at Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church at 715-258-8061.
Donations may be sent to Project Backpack at Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church, 153 County Road QQ, Waupaca, WI 54981.
Schroeder said while the Blush event sells out each year, this season’s event sold out in 20 minutes to families from all parts of Wisconsin.
“Every year, I am touched by the incredible generosity of my clients. I know they are such amazing people with beautiful smiles, but this event spotlights all their beautiful hearts, too,” Schroeder said.
Blush specializes in newborn, children and family photography.
Schroeder will also deliver a donation to New London’s Project Backpack.