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Tourney raises money for Adopt-a-Family program

REBECCA O'NEIL | Friday, December 6, 2013

The Office for Social and Civic Engagement (OSCE) hosted a wiffle ball tournament that aimed to raise funds for Saint Mary’s Adopt-a-Family program, through which members of the College’s community donate Christmas gifts to Michiana families in need
Donned in holiday apparel, Saint Mary’s students gathered in Angela Athletic Center on Dec. 4 to donate to the program and play for the College’s first annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Wiffle Ball Tournament.

 Jessica Bulosan, assistant director of OSCE, said she hopes the Adopt-a-Family fundraiser will ease the financial pressure for lower-income families that may find the holiday season particularly challenging.

 “Adopt-a-family is basically a way for the Saint Mary’s community to give back to families in the Michiana community that might not have as much as we do,” Bulosan said. “They might need a little extra help, especially around Christmastime.”

 The program gives families an opportunity to enjoy the holidays without worrying about where money for gifts will come from, Bulosan said.

 “There are a lot of families who work all year and they work really hard but Christmas comes around and kids want gifts and that little bit extra makes a difference,” Bulosan said. “[The OSCE office] coordinates the event, we request families from area agencies such as the salvation army, Grandparents as Parents and area schools, and then we pass these families along to individuals, groups, team, and departments at Saint Mary’s who want to give a little bit extra at Christmastime.”

 This year, these groups included the freshman and junior class boards, as well as members of the college’s faculty and staff, Bulson said. Nicole O’Toole, junior class president, said her “adopted family” has a three-year-old girl, a two-year-old girl and a four-month-old boy.

“It’s a lot of fun to help a family in need,” O’Toole said. “Our class donated about three or four outfits per child, one or two toys per child, a winter coat for both parents and a WalMart giftcard for the family to have a nice Christmas dinner, because we found that is a little more fun than just giving them non-perishable items.”

Bulosan said funds from the tournament will allow OSCE to complement some of the donors’ gifts for the families.

“All proceeds go towards purchasing gifts for families that we have adopted,” Bulosan said. “There’s always a group every so often who kind of bit off more than they could chew. They need a little bit of extra help with their gifts so that’s when we help supplementing an extra couple of gifts per child.”

Erika Buhring, OSCE director, said the fundraiser was the newest addition to the list of altruistic events the office sponsors each year, which includes itr annual Holy Cross Harvest and Pen Pal Program.

Marky Harrison, student director of OSCE, and Molly Levi, a student worker at the OSCE, originally came up with the tournament idea, Buhring said. Seven teams participated in the event with an average of six people on each team.

“I think everyone had a lot of fun,” said Buhring. “It was a great study break for students and faculty.”
Contact Rebecca O’Neil at roneil01@saintmarys.edu