The UW Tacoma Gives: Holiday Gift Drive program has returned in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. The program, which aims to help ease the financial burden associated with the holiday season by allowing students, staff and faculty to anonymously donate gifts to needy student families, is made possible by collaboration between the Center for Service and Leadership, campus donors, the Childcare Assistance Program and the Registered Student Organization, Huskies & Pups.
The program — which started in 2012 — opened up its registration on the Center for Service and Leadership website Oct. 29. Students receiving need-based financial aid or pell grants are eligible to apply to the program before the application window closes Nov. 20. Participating students’ names will not be shared with anyone other than the Student Engagement and Financial Aid staff who are coordinating this year’s program.
“UWT Gives is a way for our community members here — staff, faculty and students — to recognize those families who may not be able to celebrate the holiday season,” Paul Prociv, civic engagement specialist for the CSL, said. “A lot of students on our campus have huge needs. They’re going to school, they got their families, kids, working jobs … There’s a lot of stresses and last thing that they’re thinking about sometimes is the holidays.”
Pledge tables with family and gift information will be set up around campus in locations yet to be determined Nov. 21–Dec. 10. Those who want to anonymously pledge to sponsor a family can go to these tables and get a tag with the gift suggestion information on it. These donations can then be dropped off in the University Y Student Center, the Dawg House or the Center for Service and Leadership located in MAT 107.
Last year, 14 student families were sponsored and more than 200 presents were donated.
Jenny Janssen, vice president of Huskies & Pups, shared her experience with the program.
“Last year, my family and I participated in the UWT Gives program and I was completely blown away by the gifts each member of my family received,” Janssen said. “It felt so amazing to have that moment unwrapping the gifts on Christmas morning with them and seeing how surprised and excited my spouse and daughter were. I felt truly loved and invested in by my fellow UWT students, staff and faculty who worked hard to put this program together, and the result was a holiday season like none I’ve ever had before.”