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Tis the Season to Give

Amanda Gray | Friday, December 3, 2010

It’s now time for ugly sweaters and our favorite animated Christmas films. In just a little under three weeks, most of us will be home. We’ll trim the tree and drink hot cocoa with our parents. We’ll get to sleep — what a concept! I’ll hopefully be spending the first Saturday back waking up in the wee hours of the morning to help at my high school’s annual food drive. Mishawaka High School has hosted the Food Drive around Christmas for more than 25 years, and I was actually sorting soup cans at the Food Drive in 2007 when I got my Notre Dame acceptance letter (a friend went to my mailbox at home and brought it to me).

I want to take this time to ask everyone lucky enough to have a Christmas this year to give something to those who won’t. When you look at your Christmas tree and the pretty wrapped presents, take a moment and think of the families who don’t have the luxury to buy their children gifts, let alone put food on the table at regular intervals.

Here are some great local and national charities that are currently accepting donations of food, gifts and money:

u The Food Bank of Northern Indiana: In operation since 1993, the Food Bank helps families in the area meeting food needs. It always takes donations of non-perishable food items, as well as monetary donations through its website, feedindiana.org

u The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation: I don’t know about you, but there was always a Toys for Tots drive in my elementary school, and I still like to donate. The organization collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December to give to families who can’t afford to buy their children presents. In my opinion, every child needs a brightly wrapped present to open Christmas morning. There are donation spots nation-wide, and you can find where to go or donate money at toysfortots.org

u The Center for the Homeless: Located at 813 S. Michigan St., South Bend’s Center for the Homeless isn’t new to Notre Dame. Many students volunteer there, and there’s even a class on homelessness that spends time there weekly. If you’ve never helped before, I urge you to consider donating something here. The Center has a list of critically needed items on its website, cfh.net, and it also takes monetary donations.

As Notre Dame students, we’re lucky to get the education we’re receiving. We’re lucky we get to pick through South Dining Hall’s million dinner options — even though we all complain there’s nothing to eat. We have warm classrooms. We have friendships. We have a warm place to sleep (unless we’re pulling an all-nighter and don’t have the luxury of sleep). I know time is precious right now with finals and flights home. Take a minute and think of those in need. ‘Tis the season to give, friends.