This holiday season, UMUC faculty and staff worked tirelessly to give back to the families in their community with hopes of spreading a little holiday cheer. Through a partnership with the Salvation Army, UMUC’s Adelphi Staff Advisory Council (ASAC) participated in the annual Angel Tree Program, one of the Salvation Army’s most popular end-of-year campaigns.
“This program is by far ASAC’s biggest and most important project. It takes months of planning, along with the participation of many staff members and their willingness to help families in need in our community,” says Meredith Levesque, ASAC member and co-chair of the Special Projects and Programs Committee, which coordinated UMUC’s participation in the program.
The Angel Tree Program was established by the Salvation Army to help provide gifts to individuals and families in local communities who would otherwise receive little to no gifts during the holidays. Every year in late fall, the Salvation Army distributes gift wish lists for children, or “angels,” and these lists are then distributed to UMUC staff and faculty members who volunteer their time and money to purchase many of the items on their designated “angel’s” list. Each list provides information about the child’s age, gender, clothing and shoe sizes, as well as a special wish list of toys or other items the child would like to receive.
In UMUC’s sixteenth year of involvement in the Angel Tree Program, nearly 500 “angels,” all of whom reside in the local Princes George’s County area, received gifts from the university community. The total number of “angels” receiving gifts this year increased by roughly 30 percent over last year—this has proven to be one of the most successful years to date.
“The community does so much to support UMUC and our students by providing scholarships and donations. So this is our way to give back to the community in a big way. Having the opportunity to give children a Christmas which they might not have had otherwise gives us a feeling like no other,” says Levesque.
The Salvation Army recognized the university’s exceptional efforts by presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to UMUC President Susan C. Aldridge at the 2011 Service and Achievement Awards. The hard work and dedication of so many individuals throughout UMUC—including the ASAC members, Angel Tree team captains, and volunteers—will surely help to make this holiday season a little brighter for many families in our community.