Upcoming Events
  • On Tuesday and Wednesday, Coppell High School sophomores and juniors will trade in their iPads for new devices.
  • On Friday, Coppell Arts Center hosts “Artrageous” at 7:30 p.m.
  • TAKE3 performs at Coppell Arts Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
Business Spectacle: Lily's Hair Studio (video)
October 26, 2023

Make a Child Smile gives back to deserving children

Donated+presents+sit+under+a+Christmas+tree+in+Coppell+City+Hall.+Various+locations+around+Coppell+offer+donation+areas+for+Make+A+Child+Smile%2C+a+Coppell-sponsored+program+that+collects+and+delivers+gifts+to+Coppell+ISD+students+in+need.+Donations+can+be+made+through+Friday.
Maddy Park
Donated presents sit under a Christmas tree in Coppell City Hall. Various locations around Coppell offer donation areas for Make A Child Smile, a Coppell-sponsored program that collects and delivers gifts to Coppell ISD students in need. Donations can be made through Friday.

From Nov. 1 through Dec. 14, the halls of Coppell City Hall are lined with black trash bags filled with gifts. 

Every inch of the building is covered, signaling the arrival of an annual project. 

Since 1990, the City of Coppell has been helping families in need through the Make a Child Smile (MACS) holiday program. Organized and coordinated by the city’s chief of staff, Christel Pettinos, this program encourages community members to donate gifts such as toys and clothing to deserving children in Coppell ISD. 

According to Coppell Middle School North counselor Kinsey McConnell, counselors and nurses start by identifying kids enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Then, as more children are deemed eligible, families are notified and can choose to participate in the program. As long as the counselors and nurses are aware of a family that may benefit from the program, the information is relayed. 

“Any need that can be met, whether it is in a big or small way, is something we want to do for our CISD families,” McConnell said. 

According to Pettinos, in order to be eligible, children must be enrolled in Coppell ISD or have a connection to a student in the district. For example, an infant with an older sibling who attends a CISD school is eligible to receive gifts. 

The only information that Pettinos receives about the children is their age, gender, and household, or family. 

If families miss the deadline to register for the program, they are then redirected to Metrocrest Services, and can receive benefits from its program. 

Once information is collected regarding the children, their age and gift of choice is then displayed on the MACS website, where community members can choose to sponsor as many children as they would like. 

Volunteers are asked to purchase at least one piece of clothing and one toy per child. Once the gifts are purchased and packaged, they can be dropped off at City hall. Prior to Christmas Day, city employees and residents hand-deliver all the presents to the respective houses.  

Coppell Montessori Academy has a donation box next to its front desk for students and families to donate toys for Make A Child Smile through Friday. Various locations around Coppell offer donation areas for Make A Child Smile, a Coppell-sponsored program that collects and delivers gifts to Coppell ISD students in need. (Maddy Park)

This year, MACS is sponsoring nearly 330 children compared to previous years’ averages of around 225 children. This increase in volume is due to an expansion of the program. 

Previously, MACS only accepted students who lived within Coppell city limits, which meant students who attended CISD schools located in Irving, such as Valley Ranch Elementary School, Canyon Ranch Elementary School and Coppell Middle School West, were not eligible for the program. 

Now, anyone who attends a CISD school, regardless of where they live, is eligible. 

“We have seen such a large increase in students this year, almost similar to the amount of kids we sponsored during the COVID-19 years,” Pettinos said. “It’s really exciting that we get to expand our reach and make sure that all of our students have access to these services.”

To accommodate the larger number of students, MACS has partnered with multiple businesses and organizations to ensure that every child who is participating has the opportunity to receive a gift during the holiday season. 

Businesses can choose to either sponsor a certain number of children, or they can provide product donations, which volunteers will then separate and distribute accordingly. Sometimes, businesses will choose to participate in this program in order to provide their employees with a team-building exercise. 

Often, when employees deliver presents, they are spotted by other children who may not be a part of the program. 

“It’s always a tricky situation because we don’t know if those children are part of our list so we can’t just hand them the presents,” Pettinos said. “We’re hoping that with the help of the businesses this year, we will have more toys to distribute so we don’t have to turn away any of those kids.”

In addition to larger businesses, many local organizations choose to participate as well. Coppell Montessori Academy has been working with MACS for the past three years. 

“We like to use this amazing program as a way to teach our kids the importance of giving back to the community,” Coppell Montessori Academy director Vickie Rice said. “It serves as a great opportunity for the kids, even though they are young, to learn important lessons about helping those who may be less fortunate.”

Whether many realize it or not, teaching children these lessons at a young age can pay off. 

“Every year, I see kids who have saved up their allowance money to help someone else around them,” Pettinos said. “It’s such a good feeling knowing that these kids are wanting to give back to their community.”

A Christmas tree in Coppell City Hall marks the center of the Make A Child Smile program operation. Various locations around Coppell offer donation areas for Make A Child Smile, a Coppell-sponsored program that collects and delivers gifts to Coppell ISD students in need. Donations can be made through Friday. (Maddy Park)

Often, families who participate in the program are able to pay it forward and sponsor children once they are in a better position financially. 

“Coppell is such a tight-knit community where everyone just wants to give back and support our folks,” Pettinos said. “It’s truly an amazing thing to witness.”

This year, the deadline to drop off gifts at city hall is Friday. For more information regarding MACS 2023, visit makeachildsmile.org. 

Follow (@suki_muthiah) and @CHSCampusNews on X. 



Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Sukirtha Muthiah, Business Manager
Sukirtha Muthiah is a junior and the business manager for The Sidekick. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading way too many historical-fiction novels, and dancing. You can contact her at [email protected] or on X (@suki_muthiah).
Maddy Park, Staff Photographer
Staff photographer Maddy Park ended up in The Sidekick in an unexpected way. After landing a leg injury, Park had to switch out of soccer and decided ‘Why not join the school’s newspaper?’ From owning her own Sidekick subscriptions before, Park has always enjoyed reading and looking at pages on the newspaper, and decided she wanted to be a part of it all. Ever since middle school, Park has been part of the art program and appreciates what it brings to the table. Outside of school, Park plays for her club soccer team, DKSC and has been playing soccer since kindergarten. She enjoys being part of a team and getting to support one another. Her favorite movie is Lalaland and her favorite artist is JOJI. You can contact her through her email at [email protected] or on Instagram at @maddy.yp_73.

Comments (0)

All Coppell Student Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *