GENEVA, NY-Fifteen families in the Geneva area were given more than 250 gifts by the Hobart and William Smith campus community in conjunction with the Colleges' Office of Public Service and the campus chapter of Make-A-Wish. Members of the HWS housekeeping staff, staff in Coxe Hall, faculty members, and residents of Outdoor House sponsored an additional family.
Families applied through the Ontario County Action Program's E.L.F.S. Holiday Program 2000 and the Family Counseling Center's Domestic Violence program. Caroline Miller, of the William Smith Class of 2002 and co-chair of the campus Make-A-Wish chapter, worked with the public service office to coordinate the effort. The Community Action Program provided the office with numbers, ages, sizes, and wish lists for 14 families who registered with them. Different campus groups, including the William Smith athletic department, Hobart athletic department, joint deans' staff, faculty, Interfraternity Council, Community Service House, and other student residences, were then asked to sponsor a family or individual, using the lists as a guide.
“It's fun to be able to play Santa Claus,” said Miller who, along with Bauder, his wife Tina, and Carol Mahoney '01, filled in the gaps with a shopping spree at the Geneva Wal-Mart, purchasing everything from diapers to bikes. The local store also made a donation to the Colleges' project. Members of Community Service House and Students Organized for Service sorted and wrapped the mountain of gifts, which were delivered in three van trips.
“It was a good first effort and now we have some ideas to make things smoother next year,” said Bauder. “A big thank you to our faculty, students, and staff for their generosity, and to Caroline for doing such a great job coordinating the entire project. I think it really helped to bring the holiday spirit alive on campus. It gave us a chance to see past ourselves and to reach out and help others in our community. “