By Paola Florencio
As the holiday season approaches, members of Framingham State community are working on a number of charitable initiatives.
Departments across campus are partnering with local organizations to gather resources needed for fundraising.
The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD) and the United Way of Tri-County are hosting their third annual FSU Giving Tree program, according to Will Reddy, program coordinator.
This program sponsors families who are unable to provide gifts for their children. Participants will receive lists from local families, and will help provide three gifts for each child to be delivered in early December.
Last year, the FSU community came together and successfully donated 141 gifts to 47 children in need. This year’s goal is to collect at least 150 gifts to give to 50 children in need, said Reddy.
According to a flyer shared by Dining Service Director Ralph Eddy the FSU Coat Share returned on Nov. 14 in the Athletic Center. FSU members can donate gently used or new coats. The program will run through the end of the semester.
Eddy said Dining Services is hosting the Stop Hunger Food and Fundraising drive, which consists of accepting donations of nonperishable food items. Those donations will go to A Place to Turn and Pearl Street Cupboard Café.
In addition, Dining Services is also selling Stop Hunger Hearts at each retail location at Framingham State University.
Dining Services and Alumni Relations Office of Development partnered to co-host games held on campus on Nov. 17. The winning teams received a turkey, which was then donated to Pearl Street Café in their names, said Eddy.
According to the FSU Dining Services Facebook page, 28 turkeys were donated.
Eddy said, “It’s more of an interactive piece to get people to be more aware about hunger in our community.”
This year, students are able to donate using Dining Dollars or RamCash.
Eddy said, “As part of the food and fundraising drive, we also have a partner organization that we are working with called YouGiveGoods.”
Those who want to donate can visit YouGiveGoods’ website and purchase canned goods or nonperishable food that will be shipped to either Pearl Street or A Place to Turn, said Eddy.
Hunger and homelessness “is such an issue not only in the greater Framingham area, but right on this campus as well. There are students working as hard as they can to go to school so they can improve and better themselves in their careers, and at the same time, they are having issues perhaps with food insecurities or house insecurities. In this day and age, that is something that shouldn’t happen.
“In a country like America where we have the resources that we do it’s incredibly sad and incredibly disturbing that there are that many people at risk.” said Eddy.
Junior Jessica Pietersen participated in last year’s FSU Giving Tree.
“I had to buy a little girl a present. She wanted a winter jacket, and I went and got her a little jacket. It felt really good,” she said.
Pietersen said she couldn’t put into words the way buying the jacket made her feel. After buying the jacket, she could not help but feel excited. She said, “This is the cutest jacket and I was like, ‘This little girl is going to love it.’
“I think it is a great idea that they ask for something specific instead of a random toy. It’s something that they want and need,” she added.
She encourages everyone to participate. “I think that they should advertise it more to get more people to do it.”
She added, “It’s selfless, there’s no instant gratification and we need more of it.”
Junior and SILD Intern Erin Dempsey said, “This year, SILD broke our record for the last two years for the Annual Giving Tree. We had an unprecedented number of people who wanted to donate and sponsor children.”
She said the participants’ “generosity is going to make the holiday season great for a record number of children this year.”
“Giving is very important. We all are fortunate enough in different ways. So understanding how you can give back to your community is another part of student involvement,” she said.
Dempsey added, “With everything else that is going on right now, like finals and politics, there has to be a way to bring positivity and I thin that giving to the less fortunate is a great way to do that.”