The holidays are a time for giving but for college students it seems hard enough to get gifts for your family, let alone find a way to give to the needy.
Although it is difficult, the task is not impossible. On any budget and with any time constraints, there are still ways to make a difference during the Christmas season.
Toys for Tots is one of the best ways to give to children in need during the holidays, not to mention it is convenient and fun. Toys “R” Us are nationwide drop-off locations. There is a Toys “R” Us located off of Magnolia Avenue by the Tyler Mall, close and convenient for the average California Baptist University student.
“There is no kind of monetary value on the donations,” Wayne Harkley, the Toys for Tots coordinator for San Bernardino and Riverside County, said. “Whatever fits in your budget; if that is a five dollar toy, that is okay.”
Since there is no set price, this makes it easy to find a toy that fits within your own personal holiday budget.
The Family Giving Tree is another organization that provides a way to make giving as easy and expedient as online shopping. This organization works by selecting families who have registered with social service agencies. Once selected, the children can send in a card with their specific Christmas wish.
By going on the website, www.familygivingtree.org, each child’s wish is displayed and by just clicking a button at the bottom of the screen you can sponsor them and make the donation for their toy. This website makes giving so easy, although it costs a bit more than Toy’s for Tots; donations range from $19.99- $29.99.
The Macy’s Believe holiday campaign works side by side with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening diseases. A large red mailbox is placed in every Macy’s store and for every letter to Santa in the mailbox, Macy’s donates one dollar to Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Being a part of Macy’s Believe campaign is easy; just spend time with a little sibling, niece or nephew and help them send their Christmas lists to the North Pole. The total cost for this project is paper and pens, making it perfect for a student on a very tight budget.
Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child is a organization with the mission statement: “to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
They collect shoeboxes that are filled with toys and necessities for children in impoverished countries. Churches from all over the country take part. Last year alone, they served 8 million children. Since 1993, they reached 130 countries. The boxes are designated by specific age groups and gender. Age groups range from 2 to 4 years old,5 to 9 years old and 10 to 14 years old. Operation Christmas Child has many ways to get involved. They also offer opportunities to both volunteer at a warehouse inspecting and shipping them. It all starts with filling one shoebox.
The apparent focus on material gifts makes it difficult at times to remember there are people who simply need food.
At Vons in the Riverside Plaza, there are bags of canned foods that may be purchased and donated. The bags of food are all under $10. This makes donating simple because the food is already picked out and it just needs to be bought.
On campus, the Office of Spiritual Life has a tree that is decorated with ornaments with the names and wishes of foster children.
All students have to do is pick an ornament, register it with the office and then purchase the gift that is listed. Return the gift to the Office of Spiritual Life and your chosen child’s Christmas wish will come true.
This holiday season is full of opportunities to give back to those in need in our community. Even on a student’s limited budget, there are many ways to make a difference.