The SUNY Oneonta campus community came together to brighten the holiday season for nearly 200 local children this year.
Through the college’s annual Giving Tree project, gift tags were created in partnership with staff from several local schools and preschool programs. Each tag contained a child’s age, sex and clothing size. In November, SUNY Oneonta, students, faculty and staff selected tags and purchased winter clothes, toys, nonperishable lunchbox items and toiletries for their child. Many athletic teams, residence halls, student clubs and college offices sponsored a child as a group and worked together to purchase gifts.
On Dec. 11, members of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity helped organize gift pickups and deliveries to the partner schools. A total of 183 children from 95 local families will receive gifts through the program this year.
The Giving Tree has been a SUNY Oneonta holiday tradition for 15 years. Because of the college’s association with the federal College Assistance Migrant Program, which provides scholarships and support services for students from migrant and seasonal farm-working families, the effort started as a Migrant Tutorial Angel Tree, and children from migrant families received the gifts. In 2014, the focus shifted to helping needy families in the communities surrounding the college.