The Gift of Giving: OSU’s annual Angel Tree program is back through Dec. 9
Friday, November 18, 2022
Media Contact: Brian Blevins | Coordinator, Off Campus and Non-Traditional Student Services | 405-744-5484 | email@example.com
With the holidays upon us, we are entering into a time of year that reminds us to be thankful for what we have and encourages us to give back to those who may not be as fortunate.
The Oklahoma State University Non-Traditional Student Organization will be kicking off the season of giving with the Angel Tree program starting on Nov. 18. The angel tree will be set up on the second floor of the Student Union in the Campus Life Lounge.
Angel Tree is a program that gives people a chance to anonymously provide a Christmas to children who otherwise may not have one. For those interested in giving to the program, it’s as easy as picking a name off the angel tree in the Student Union and buying gifts based on what the child needs.
“There will be a place for people to put their information so we know what name they’ve taken,” said Brian Blevins, coordinator of off campus and non-traditional student services. “The names on the tree have a list of items on the back that the children may need or want. It can be anything from necessities such as a coat, shirt, pants and shoes, or people can give them some fun things to brighten their day like toys, games, a scooter, all sorts of stuff.”
The OSU Non-Traditional Student Organization pairs with student organizations and community partners in the area like the Payne County Youth Services, Department of Human Services, Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters to find names of children to put on the tree.
Kailey Carter is the senior program specialist for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma and she has recently been working on connecting some families to the Angel Tree Program.
“Our program has deep roots in the mission of providing a stable, consistent role model and mentor in the lives of children,” Carter said. “As volunteers step into that role, they realize that they are getting a lot more out of it than they expected. They came in to help this child and there's so much in return on both sides, which is very unique. Really, the connection behind Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Angel Tree is just the opportunity to help others in need.
“To have that chance and opportunity to make something happen that wouldn't necessarily happen for that child or family is amazing, and that's through the gift of giving.”
While getting back into the swing of things last year after the pandemic, the Angel Tree program was unable to meet the goal of 100% angel response. This year, the OSU Non-Traditional Student Organization remains optimistic that they can give back to 200 children and students.
“Fortunately, the Student Government Association was able to help monetarily donate to help some of the children that were still in need last year,” Blevins said. “This year, we're hoping we can make sure that all of the angels are taken and get the opportunity to have the Christmas they deserve.”
The angel tree will be up in the Student Union from Nov. 18 to Dec. 9. For those wanting to take on an angel, all unwrapped gifts should be returned to the Leadership and Campus Life Lounge, room 211 of the Student Union, by 4 p.m. on Dec. 9.
Students wanting to volunteer for the program can help out by checking on the tree and organizing inventory as gifts come in.
“The Angel Tree program is so important because it focuses on the act of selfless giving,” Blevins said. “The thing I like most about the program is the fact that you know you're giving back with no thank you in return. For young adults and even parents themselves, giving to the Angel Tree could take them back to their own childhood and maybe their own struggles that they may have had as a kid.
“I hope that people giving to Angel Tree can reflect on how much this means not only to the kids but the parents as well.”
Story By: Hadley DeJarnette | firstname.lastname@example.org