WSU Captures Holiday Spirit Through Charitable Efforts

OGDEN, Utah – Several organizations at Weber State University have spent the holiday season trying to make life a little merrier for some members of the community.

From collecting for area veterans to adopting Sub-for-Santa families to organizing food and toy drives, student groups, offices and departments on campus have spent the month of December trying to make a difference in the lives of others.

Donated shoeboxes are displayed at the Veterans Upward Bound office before being delivered to homeless veterans.
The Veterans Upward Bound office held its eighth annual "Shoeboxes for Homeless Veterans" drive this fall. The goal was to collect enough shoeboxes with toiletries for area veterans who are homeless. 

Donna Rigby, director of Veterans Upward Bound, said this year's response was more than enough for the 181 homeless veterans. They collected more than 200 shoeboxes, providing items to share with homeless veterans in two Salt Lake City locations in addition to the Homeless Veterans Fellowship in Ogden.

Rigby said people do more than just donate toiletries, however. "They get very creative with their packing and many include sweatshirts, socks and gloves as well," she said.

Each year, the Women's Center on campus accepts applications from students who are single mothers, requesting holiday assistance. This year the WSU Police Academy cadets, Continuing Education, the Women's Center staff, University Advancement and several anonymous donors combined to sponsor 36 families.

"It has been a beautiful experience watching so many people reaching into their hearts to help others," said Carol Merrill, director of the Women's Center. "This is truly the spirit of the holiday season."

Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-medical student organization on campus, provided holiday gifts for a family through Your Community Connection's "Spirit of Giving" drive. Seventeen club members provided gifts for a family with four children with donations amounting to approximately $500 in value.

The Information Technology (IT) division sponsored a food drive that 45 people donated to. IT was able to give nearly 240 lbs. of non-perishable food to the Utah Food Bank and approximately $100 of store-prepared food for immediate consumption to the St. Anne's Center in Ogden.

The Community Involvement Center (CIC) sponsored an Angel Tree for the Salvation Army featuring 200 tags with requests and needs. WSU students, faculty and staff helped provide Christmas for the children on the tree. Weber State University Davis also organized an Angel Tree that provided gifts for 35 children.

The WSU Bookstore and the CIC's Volunteer Involvement Program organized a "Fill the Sleigh" charitable event with Santa and his reindeer that collected donated items for the Ogden Rescue Mission. Community members who attended the Dec. 9 event were encouraged to donate needed items, including personal hygiene products, baby formula, diapers and wipes, and cold weather clothing. The drive resulted in the donation of 651 pounds of items valued at nearly $2,800 and more than $400 in cash contributions to the Ogden Rescue Mission.

The Honors program assisted the Utah Food Bank with a food drive and sponsored two children on the Angel Tree. 

Organizers across campus say the greatest reward is knowing how much recipients appreciate the generosity. "The people are quite flabbergasted when we drop off what we've collected," Rigby said. "They are overcome with emotion."

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Travis Clemens, assistant director of Media Relations
801-626-7948 •
Marilyn Diamond, Honors advisor
801-626-7336 •

Sarah Dawn Lowry, IT office specialist
801-626-7029 •

Carol Merrill, Women's Center director
801-626-6090 •

Kari Petersen, co-director of Community Involvement Center
801-626-6890 •

Donna Rigby, Veterans Upward Bound director
801-626-7047 •

Amber Robson, Bookstore marketing coordinator
801-626-8685 •

Barb Trask, Alpha Epsilon Delta advisor
801-626-6165 •