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Presence for Christmas


Help spread some Christmas cheer! Starting in late October and throughout the month of November, Loyola students have had the opportunity to engage with some of the children in the Baltimore community through a service program known as Presence for Christmas. This program works through the Community Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ) at Loyola.

The program is run by volunteers who hold tables outside of Boulder to promote the program. At the table, students and members of the Loyola community are encouraged to take one or multiple gift tags. Printed on the gift tag is the name of a child, how old (s)he is, what agency the child is involved in (all children are involved in one of Loyola’s community partners), and his/her request for a gift. The gift requests are anything from winter coats and clothes to toys of all kinds. The children’s ages range from a few months old to 18 years.

pfc1Some of Loyola’s partners who will be receiving the gifts include: the Refugee Youth Project, the Esperanza Center, the Superstore at St. Jerome’s, Walter P. Carter Elementary School, Govans Elementary School, and the Choice Program. Gifts cost less than $25 and will bring so much joy to a child in our community. This year, there are over 700 tags with gift requests.

Some volunteers involved in the program reflected on why they joined Presence for Christmas and what it means to them:

“I joined Presence for Christmas because there is no better feeling than knowing you made a child’s wish come true on Christmas” –Julia Kasmouski ’20, Volunteer

“Presence for Christmas is a holiday program where our Loyola community comes together contributing gifts for the youth in Baltimore. PFC has been an incredibly humbling experience to be a part of, for although the donors will never see their sponsored child’s face open a gift, everyone is so enthusiastic and passionate about being involved in some way. For me, this has shown the connections of humanity and how despite challenges and obstacles, can can come together in a unified loving way.” – Honor Bowman ’17, Head Service Coordinator

Mighty June Photo, Courtesy of Flickr
Mighty June Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

“I’ve participated in Presence for Christmas for the past three years at Loyola. Last year, I had the honor of running the program through CCSJ. I got involved because it was so close to the donation program I did back home, and it has continued to be a joy to spread the love of Christmas.” – Manal Arma ‘18

All of the gifts are due back to Campus Ministry in Cohn Hall by December 9th and will be collected and presented at the 28th Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols in the Alumni Memorial Chapel at 5pm. If you are interested in volunteering in the future, there are opportunities available to hand out gift tags and give gifts. Those who want to give a gift, provide a monetary donation, or have any questions about the program should go to the CCSJ office in the Humanities building in Suite 142 or contact CCSJ at [email protected].

Feature Image: Courtesy of Michelle Mencia

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Presence for Christmas