By Tara Schmidt
Class of 2012
SPOKANE, Wash. – The holiday season is a time for giving. We exchange gifts, share the products of our most prized recipes, give our time to one another, and try to be conscious of and help those in need. Gonzaga is brimming with the spirit of giving this year.
The Center for Community Action and Service-Learning (CCASL) and Sodexo Campus Services are at the center of this year’s giving efforts.
In addition to donating all the food for the “Food for Thought” free community dinner at the Central United Methodist Church, Sodexo also held the Helping Hands Across America food drive, with the ambitious goal of collecting 10,000 pounds of food in 10 days.
Another campus group, The Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga University gathers food year-round from many sources (including Gonzaga’s COG and Second Harvest) to provide balanced meals for those in need in the Spokane community. The food recipients of Campus Kitchen who need warm clothes for the winter also receive clothing donated by students and collected in Gonzaga’s residence halls after Thanksgiving break.
Campus Kids, a CCASL mentoring program for neighborhood youths, set up a Giving Tree to collect the “Warmest Wishes” of 320 children. These tags were distributed to Gonzaga students in two weeks, with still more inquiring. “Many agreed to be ‘on-call’ in the event a child’s tag was not returned,” said Katie Kaiser, mentoring programs coordinator for CCASL.
The Alumni House gathered local graduates and current students to wrap the presents that had been collected.
Kathy Roloff, an alumna who received the invitation to wrap, wanted to do more. She got her company, the North Spokane Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to donate $1,000 to cover the cost of the ribbons and wrapping paper and Winter Wonderland, a holiday event for the participants of Campus Kids and Shaw Connection, all of their families, and their Gonzaga student mentors.
Santa’s Helpers, a program that collects Christmas presents for low-income families in the Spokane Community, got lots of help from University departments and residence halls.
These are but some of the many acts of giving inspired at Gonzaga this holiday season. Clearly, the spirit of giving has spread its wings wide across campus to provide items for nourishment, warmth or just plain fun once again this year.