Each holiday season since 2004, the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) at HWS conducts an annual Holiday Gift Project with generous campus support. This year, while celebrating the 10th anniversary of the program, CCESL seeks to generate enough donations for 104 children and family members in the Geneva community.
Jeremy Wattles, assistant director of CCESL, says the support of the program is extraordinary. “In recent years, we calculated the annual value of the gifts and donations we collected to be in the $5,000 – $6,000 range. We hope to provide families who may be struggling financially with both fun and practical gifts for their children.”
The program specifically targets preschool population-families in Geneva who receive assistance through Head Start and ABCD (Agri-Business Child Development).
“I hope that the program once again brings together our campus community by recognizing that we are fortunate and that we can always give a little bit back to the community. I also hope that these gifts will contribute to some of Geneva’s children having a happy holiday, while also providing for some of their needs,” Wattles says.
The campus community can get involved by writing to email@example.com indicating which child/family they would like to sponsor. The Holiday Gift Project team will be sending out the anonymous list to the campus and suggest about $40-$50 worth of gifts per child. Monetary contributions are also welcome from community members. People who wish to explore this option should make out checks to HWS Colleges, with Holiday Gift Program in the memo.
Any student or member interested in helping the team pack up and deliver the gifts can also contact the CCESL. Sarah Henschel ’15, civic leader for outreach, says, there are 20-25 children left who still need gifts and donations.
“While the project is going extremely well, we still have some remaining need,” she says. “We are doing everything we can to bring some extra holiday cheer to those in need and encourage everyone to help out.”
In the photo above, members of the HWS community fill vans of gifts for the Holiday Gift Project in 2013.