Mason Community Shares Generously during Holiday Season

Posted: December 6, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Heather Hare

Multiple offices and organizations at Mason are providing giving opportunities to make this holiday special for our neighbors in need.

For more than 10 years, the Center for Service and Leadership (CSL) has coordinated the Holiday Spirit campaign, donating gifts and food to low-income Fairfax County, Va., families. CSL receives family names and wish lists from Our Daily Bread, a local nonprofit organization that facilitates the Fairfax County Holiday Program.

This program pulls together resources from 25 community-based organizations to create one large, concerted effort to feed and provide gifts to as many needy families as possible during the holidays. This year, the Mason community “adopted” 15 families through this program, giving gifts and food baskets for 55 individuals.

Along with the Office of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education; Fraternity and Sorority Life; and Leadership Education and Development, the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services (OFPS) launched the Shooting Star Program this year, offering an opportunity for Mason families to participate in holiday giving. The program matched individual donors with children from the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry.

Because of the generous response from the Mason community, OFPS also partnered with CSL’s Holiday Spirit program. Through these efforts, the community supported 27 children from nine different families. OFPS collected more than 100 gifts, which will be delivered to the families next week. After hearing about the Shooting Star program, one mother said, “Thank you. This is why we love George Mason – you guys totally rock. I love that you care so much about everyone.”

Carol Swigart, assistant director of the Alumni Affairs Office, volunteers throughout the year with Community Residences, a local nonprofit that coordinates services for individuals with disabilities. After hearing that they needed gift donors to make the holidays special for residents of their group homes, Swigart enlisted the support of her colleagues in the University Development and Alumni Affairs offices to grant the wishes of Community Residences’ clients.

The annual Mason Holiday Party offers another opportunity to give. New, unwrapped toys for boys and girls will be collected in the Johnson Center Cinema lobby before and during the party on Dec. 14.

For additional information on these giving opportunities, contact CSL or visit the web site.

Heather Hare is associate director of the Center for Service and Leadership.

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