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Loyola Students Build Community with the Greater Baltimore Area Through Presence for Christmas

Loyola Students Build Community with the Greater Baltimore Area Through Presence for Christmas

Loyola University Maryland students continue to spread meaningful Christmas cheer through the Presence for Christmas program. For more than 20 years, Loyola students, faculty, staff and community members have been contributing to making Christmas wishes come true for children all around the surrounding Greater Baltimore Community. 

 The program, run by Loyola’s Center for Community Service and Justice (CCSJ), still remains a strong force during the Christmas season at Loyola despite the financial strains of the pandemic the past several years.

 Luisa Glass ‘25, an intern for CCSJ, and the Presence for Christmas Service Coordinator said that Presence for Christmas is another way that CCSJ connects with their community partners during the holiday season. She said that each community partner sponsors a certain number of youth from their agency to receive gifts and these sponsors provide specific gifts that the children have asked for.

 For example, Walter P. Carter Elementary Middle School sponsors about 60 of their students. So, the gifts go to individuals who are involved with community partners that CCSJ works with,” said Glass. 

Glass also explained the superstore gifts that the program offers as an option for students to purchase works differently than their traditional gifts with their community partner. 

“The superstore gifts work a bit differently. The superstore is an initiative organized by Catholic Charities that collects gift donations and allows families to ‘shop’ for gifts, free of charge. This provides families with the opportunity to have gifts at Christmas time, free of the financial burden,” Glass said. 

Presence for Christmas, along with many other initiatives run by CCSJ are important in connecting campus with our Greater Baltimore community. Glass said that this program provides an opportunity for youth who would not otherwise be able to receive gifts for the holiday season the chance to have a gift-filled holiday.

“I think it is important for students to donate to Presence for Christmas in order to spread holiday joy to youth in under-resourced areas. Having the resources to comfortably celebrate the holidays is a huge privilege that can be difficult to recognize and so it is important to use our privilege to create positive change in the community,” Glass said.  

Despite the recent years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the financial burden that it has placed on different people at Loyola, Glass explained that there was still significant participation, and they did not struggle to get people involved and buying gifts. 

Glass said, “The Loyola Community continues to be supportive of the program throughout the pandemic. If anything, COVID made the logistics of the program more difficult, especially in 2020, but CCSJ has been able to manage as donor support has been constant.” 

Glass encouraged her classmates to still get involved with CCSJ and Presence for Christmas, although the deadline for committing to buying and bringing in gifts has ended. 

“We will be having a wrapping and sorting night that we will need volunteers for. Also, students can continue to support youth and families in Baltimore city by supporting legislation, policies, and initiatives that address poverty and other justice issues at their root causes,” Glass said.    

To sign up for the gift wrapping night, click  here. You can learn more about CCSJ and get involved with their programs by following them on Instagram.


Featured Image courtesy of Meaghan Parsons.

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Loyola Students Build Community with the Greater Baltimore Area Through Presence for Christmas