Dec 062004
 
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

 

Holidays are in the air, and while many are looking forward to opening gifts with family and friends, families that struggle financially can see a stressful and difficult time during the holidays.

However, the holiday season brings out many charities and foundations looking for donations and volunteers to help support the families and make holiday wishes come true.

"I think it is very important for students to donate and help out the needy during the holiday season," said Olga Duvall, Christmas program coordinator at the Salvation Army, 3901 S. Mason St.

The Salvation Army sponsors the charity drive "Angels Among Us," during which people can bring in toys and clothes or volunteer to help assemble food boxes for families.

"'Angels Among Us' is also known as our 'Adopt-a-Family' program," Duvall said. "Families sign up for help at the Salvation Army and we aspire to find a sponsor for every family to help fulfill their Christmas wish."

Starbucks also sponsors a charity called the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation to brighten up the holidays for seriously ill children.

"Our partners and customers are looking for ways to give back, especially during the holiday season," said Phil Smith, regional marketing manager for Starbucks Coffee Company. "We are thrilled to team up with the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation for a fifth consecutive year and give our customers and partners the opportunity to make a positive impact on local children."

The Starbucks Holiday Angels Joy Drive collected more than 440,000 toys last year in Colorado, and drive members have set their goal to collect 500,000 toys and books this year.

"This program is so exciting for Starlight Starbright," said Gail Prostrollo, executive director of the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation of Colorado. "By teaming up with Starbucks, we will be able to reach out to thousands more children this holiday season. Every donated toy and book will bring a smile to the face of a sick child, allowing them to have a wonderful holiday."

Customers are invited to drop off new, unwrapped books and toys at local Starbucks stores and can also purchase an exclusive children's book at local Starbucks and Barnes & Noble Stores in order to donate to the drive.

Aside from the large corporate businesses charities, there are several other ways to help donate to the less fortunate this holiday season.

"When going to look for a charity during the holidays I would ask my church about it," said Alexandra Wallace, a junior history major.

Wallace feels it is always a good idea for students to donate gifts or their time during the holiday season.

"I think that no matter what, there is always time to volunteer or make a donation," Wallace said. "It is important for students to remember that not everyone is as blessed as them during the holidays."

Besides making a donation or giving to charity this year, Wallace said even just small things like spending time with close friends or inviting someone over for the holidays is a good thing to do.

"Christmas is a great time for charities because it reminds us that people in the community need help," Duvall said. "No matter how good or bad your finances are, you can always find something to donate or even just help volunteer. If anything, giving to the less fortunate will just make you feel good."

Box: For those interested in adopting a family this year, call the Salvation Army at 207-4472 for more information.

For more information on the Starbucks Holiday Angels Joy Drive visit www.starbucks.com/holiday.

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