Campus holiday drives offer diverse ways to give back

By Leslie King | Emory Report | Dec. 5, 2016

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From donating toys for children to providing food for families, there are many ways to join the Emory community in helping those in need during the holidays.

Hugs and the joy of helping are just two of the gifts to be received by joining the Emory community in giving back this holiday season. From donating toys for children to providing food for families, a diverse array of giving drives is currently underway on campus.

You may be aware of holiday giving opportunities happening in your department, school or unit. But if you haven’t seen the flyers or want to participate even more, here are additional opportunities to make the season special for those in need.

Food drive at Blomeyer Health Fitness Center

Blomeyer Health Fitness Center is collecting donations for the center’s food drive, accepting non-perishable food items and canned goods for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Blomeyer Health Fitness Center is located on the fifth floor of the 1525 Clifton Building.

Santa Cop with the Emory Police Department

Emory Police Department officers join the DeKalb Fraternal Order of Police in their annual Santa Cop program, taking children shopping for themselves and their families to make the season special. The Santa Cop 2016 event will be on Saturday, Dec. 10. 

“We are currently hosting 60 underprivileged children from DeKalb County,” says Sgt. Leigh H. Vaughn, Santa Cop coordinator for Emory Police Department. “We are always in need of funds to further this program. We’d love to raise more money in order to take more children on this holiday shopping spree.”

Donations can be made via the DeKalb Fraternal Order of Police’s website or mailed directly to the lodge at 1238 Ridge Ave. Stone Mountain, GA 30083. For more information, contact Vaughn at 404-710-3337.

Blanket-making and toiletries for Madhousers shelter camp

Homeless Outreach and Awareness Project members are having a fleece blanket-making event in the Hamilton Holmes residence hall lounge on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. as a study break during finals.

At this event, they will also be collecting toiletries, gloves, hats, socks or other winter wear to fit many sizes.

These donations will be used to create gift bags for a Madhousers shelter camp where there are approximately nine individuals and families. Collection boxes will be left in the Hamilton Holmes lounge till Dec. 13 for additional donations.

Follow the HOAP Facebook page for updates and details.

Toys for Tots donations at WHSCAB

Emory faculty, staff and students can participate in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s longstanding Toys for Tots program by bringing new and unwrapped toys to the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) at Woodruff Health Sciences Administration Building, Suite 134, 1440 Clifton Road.

The Toys for Tots program always runs short of toys for ages 0 to 2 and 10 and older. Suggested toys for the older children include makeup kits, hair dryers, watches, colognes, perfumes and sporting equipment. Also, bicycles are always in high demand but must be accompanied by a helmet.

Participants will be joining nearly 40,000 Marines, Marine Corps League members, veteran Marines and volunteers involved in nearly 800 campaigns across the country, according to Andrew West, senior center administrator of ACTSI.

"The Marine Reserves hosts Toys for Tots each year and my reserve unit is involved with that effort," says West, who is a First Sergeant in the USMC. “Toys for Tots started after World War II with a primary goal to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

“Emory faculty, staff and students have been very generous in the past in supporting our local campaign and we are hopeful that spirit of generosity will continue in 2016.”

Final drop-off day is Friday, Dec. 16, by 5 p.m. For questions, contact West at 404-727-9296.

School of Nursing holiday drive for clinic, homeless shelter

The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing faculty, staff and students are holding their annual holiday collection drive for community partners, CAPN Clinic and Gateway.

“We will be accepting donations through the end of the semester,” says Amanda Denzer-King, School Life Committee chair and senior administrative assistant in Academic Advancement.

CAPN, Community Advanced Practice Nurses, is a non-profit organization whose advanced practice nurses provide free-of-charge health care services to Atlanta's homeless or economically disadvantaged women and children.

Gateway Center houses 330 beds for men who are enrolled in residential programs and actively working to end their homelessness. It offers client engagement for men, women and children by connecting them to resources throughout the metro Atlanta area.

Both organizations have submitted a wish list of their biggest needs, and faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends in the community are invited to support these organizations by helping them secure materials that are critical to their missions. To participate, contact Denzer-King, 404-712-8749.

Toy drive by the Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine

The Division of Cardiology and the Department of Medicine are again coming together to raise money for the Annual Holiday Toy Drive. 

“We set our sights a bit higher this year and are trying to raise $10,000 to buy gifts for 100 Atlanta area children,” says Alicia Lyle, assistant professor in the division of cardiology. “Last year, we supported 89 local Atlanta children thanks to generous donations from the Emory community.

“We are teaming up again with the Department of Medicine’s Project M-PACT team, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center administrative team and the Emory Clinics,” she says.

Currently, the drive is $2,000 away from the $10,000 goal. All monetary donations will be used to fulfill the wish lists of children from the Fulton County Court-Appointed Special Advocates program.  “Their lists are very modest and include clothing, shoes and toys,” says Lyle.

You can donate via PayPal. For more information, contact Lyle, 404-727-8556.

Holiday Adopt a Family Program at Winship Cancer Institute

Since 2007, the Winship Cancer Institute has adopted families at Christmas to provide a joyful holiday with gifts that fulfill basic needs and wants. This year, the tradition continues under the leadership of the Winship Social Services department.

Winship staff members, including social services staffers, nurses, doctors and other health care providers, give referrals of families who may need assistance for Christmas. Family members fill out an application with a wish list of items for themselves and immediate family members.

“Then teams that have formed go shopping, wrap gifts, and make things happen for the family each team adopted,” says Hilary Cohen, clinical social worker at Winship Cancer Institute, who is spearheading the program this year.

The teams are formed from Winship staff, volunteers, Emory University and Healthcare staff, and outside organizations, who adopt a patient and their family. Those who adopt communicate directly with the patient to acknowledge receipt of their wish list and make arrangements to meet.

The deadline is Dec. 15. To participate, contact Cohen directly at 404-778-4627.

“I’m more than happy to connect someone or a team of individuals, businesses or departments or a fraternity or sorority with a family that could use some cheer,” she says.

“One of the families (this year) lives in Winder and has asked for a home cooked meal,” she says, noting that if someone interested in participating lives in that area, they may be interested in trying out their talents in the kitchen.

Last year, Cohen brought her team’s gifts to their adopted family. “I don’t know which was better, her getting the gifts or me giving the gifts,” she says, the highlight being the “big, squishy” hug she received.

“People are very generous. And it’s a lot of fun shopping,” Cohen says. “It’s always better shopping for someone else.”

Blanket drive on Emory hospital campuses

Winship Cancer Institute is also conducting a blanket drive competition between departments in its locations at Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Saint Joseph's and Emory Johns Creek.

Winship staff members are encouraged to donate standard fleece blankets (new, with tags) to patients through donation boxes in team areas such as break rooms, front desks, etc.

The blanket drive continues through Dec. 31. For more information, contact DaVida Lee-Williams for Emory University Hospital's Midtown and Clifton campuses and Arielle Perez for the Emory Saint Joseph’s and Emory Johns Creek campuses.

Open Pantry and Lifeline Animal Project with Emory Development and Alumni Relations

Emory Development and Alumni Relations is helping stock Open Pantry at Bread Coffeehouse and staff members are also giving to Lifeline Animal Project.

“We’ll be collecting the day of our building potluck, Tuesday, Dec. 20,” says Danielle Goeckel, executive administrative assistant in DAR.

Open Pantry was created by the Office of Student Success to help students who have issues regarding food. “When meal plans run out, some students have no extra money for meals,” says Jennifer Crabb, director of technology and online services at the Emory Alumni Association.

Emory Dining donates fresh fruits and vegetables to the Coffeehouse, but there are additional needs for dry goods to help supplement the pantry, she says.

The Open Pantry at Bread Coffeehouse donation wish list includes:

  • MARTA cards
  • CVS, Publix, Kroger gift cards
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Meal solutions such as pasta, soup, ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese
  • Cereal
  • Snacks
  • Personal care items, especially women’s hygiene products
  • Household products such as toilet paper, paper towels and tissue

Lifeline is a local nonprofit organization providing life-saving solutions to end euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in metro Atlanta animal shelters. The organization aggressively promotes pet adoption, provides affordable spay and neuter services, increases public awareness and advocates for lifesaving public policy.

Most needed items include the following:

  • heavy-duty slip leads
  • canned puppy food
  • canned pâté-style cat food
  • canned kitten food
  • clay cat litter
  • laundry detergent
  • dishwashing detergent
  • other items on the Lifeline wish list

Oxford College giving opportunities

Oxford College has a number of holiday giving opportunities and activities. Oxford's Office of Student Involvement and Leadership leads an effort to provide gifts of toys and clothing to several local families in need. Faculty and staff signed up to sponsor individual families or to contribute money or gifts to the effort. On Tuesday Dec.7, students helped wrap gifts for each family.

On Dec. 6 Oxford Service Corps students and theory practice/service learning students who have worked with the Path Project assisted with the program’s holiday party.  The Path Project is an after-school and summer enrichment program for local elementary and middle school children.