With the holidays upon us, many folks are consumed with the thought of gifts: buying them, giving them, receiving them. But sometimes the best gifts are those you give to people that you don’t even know. The Event & Conference Services (ECS) staff knows this firsthand.
Every fall for the past four years, our staff has collected supplies to provide underserved children with the tools they need for academic success. This year, we donated nearly 150 items to the students at Mars Estates Elementary School in Essex, Maryland.
ECS Account Clerk Yvonne Stevenson and I traveled to the school this fall to hand-deliver the supplies to school Principal Sharon Whitlock. Her face lit up as we brought in three large boxes filled with notebooks, pencils, folders, backpacks and more. She was so thankful for the donation. As Yvonne and I walked past the school’s classrooms, we were touched to see the faces of students who might get an academic boost from the supplies that our office provided. That’s what gift giving is all about.
My colleague, Events Manager, Jenna Sieverts, got the same feeling last month when she delivered a special quilt to a non-profit organization, in Baltimore City. The quilt is near and dear to many of our hearts in ECS, as we started working on it back in the summer of 2012!
That summer, as we worked hard hosting numerous workshops, camps and conferences, our Associate Director Jeannie Deckelbaum, asked some of the groups to donate a program t-shirt for a good cause. We collected 20 t-shirts in all and decided to get creative! The idea for a quilt was born. After many hours of hard work and tired hands, the quilt was finished and displayed in the Union this past summer. But as the weather got cooler, it was time for the quilt to find a more useful home.
This October, Jenna proudly delivered the quilt to the Helping Up Mission. They are an organization that helps young homeless men get back on their feet by offering warm beds, meals and counseling. Helping Up Mission staff member Nick Mezzanotte says that the quilt will provide much comfort to their guests for years to come.
As we approach the holidays, ECS plans to continue giving back through the university’s Toys for Tots drive and other programs. Join us—it truly feels as good to give as it does to receive!