A look into how this year’s gift drive is spreading joy and cheer.

Each year the Center for Service and Leadership holds its annual UW Tacoma Gives Holiday Gift Drive, and despite COVID-19, this year would be no exception. The CSL, in partnership with the Childcare Assistance Program, hosted the UW Tacoma Gives Holiday Gift Drive on Nov. 18. Rachel Greene, the local events coordinator, noted that this year’s UWT Gives program turned out differently than those in the past due to the pandemic. 

“We had less people apply for the event than previous years, but still ended up with 8 students and their families plus 18 individual and group donor applications were turned in by UWT staff,” Greene said, “This year we made an Amazon wish list for the majority of the gifts.”

The idea was to make sure the staff could select what they were willing to purchase online, so as not to risk in-person shopping during a pandemic. 

“UWT Gives is an annual event where students with children who don’t have enough money to afford Christmas gifts are matched with UWT staff willing to purchase those gifts for them,” said Greene. 

As it was stated later on their website, both students and staff need to apply in order to participate.

The Drive’s guidelines that are posted on their website are straight forward to ensure anonymous sponsorship. Although Greene stated that the application deadlines for the holiday drive have ended, she explained that staff were already busy with shopping for the right gifts.

Greene noted that “Staff are now shopping for the gifts for students and their families. In mid-December, students will be able to pick up their gifts and wrapping supplies by appointment.”

Moreover, the CSL also hosted the Words of Kindness event early last month. Students came together over Zoom to write words of encouragement to the socially isolated residents of Brookdale Senior Living. Writing supplies were used while students socialized with each other. The letters were dropped off at the Center for Student Involvement.

When asked about the update on the gift drive, Greene concluded that the majority of the gifts had already been purchased by staff and all gifts are projected to be received by students and their families on or shortly after Dec. 9.

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