Every year, the SLUH community calls to mind the virtue of charity around December when participating in the Adopt-A-Family Drive. Taking place this past week, the Adopt-A-Family drive is a Campus Ministry led annual event in which gift cards are collected for people in need to buy Christmas gifts or other essential needs for their family. These gift cards are given to St. Francis Community Services, an organization who aids vulnerable people in the St. Louis region.
“I’m glad we have so many opportunities to share with the St. Louis community,” said junior Alex Dieters. “It’s nice we can spread a little Christmas cheer to people in need.”
The SLUH community has helped the St. Francis Community Services for around 20 years now with the Adopt-A-Family Drive.
“The Adopt-A-Family drive began as a STUCO drive in the early 2000’s,” said Campus Ministry coordinator Simone Anzalone. “In 2012, the Campus Ministry took over the drive with the help of the Mother's Club.”
The SLUH Mothers Club was integral to advertising the drive. Members from the Mothers Club stood outside every morning with signs and big cutouts of gift cards, hoping to remind students to donate to the drive. They were committed and didn’t let the freezing cold stop them from handing out candy canes and Hershey's kisses to passing students.
“Seeing all the moms with signs in the morning has made it easy not to forget to donate to the drive,” said junior John Younger. “It motivates me to help spread the cheer.”
The Adopt-A-Family Drive has faced many challenges over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than students purchasing essential needs, they had to resort to the purchasing of gift cards as it was the only safe way to preserve the drive. However, this challenge has brought a positive change in the eyes of campus ministry as the people receiving the cards now have freedom in what goods they buy.
“Each homeroom would adopt a family and purchase requested items such as toiletries, household goods, toys, and clothing,” said Anzalone. “Covid ushered in a new way of proceeding with the drive, a gift card drive. Purchasing gift cards has been a positive change that allows the clients of St. Francis Community Services the dignity and autonomy to select more personal gifts for their family members.”
These gifts create a greater sense of connection back to the purpose of the drive: helping families in need for the Christmas season.
“The purpose of the drive is to offer those in our community who live below the poverty line the opportunity to have a nice Christmas with their family,” said Anzalone. “This year we supported 227 members of the St. Louis community.”
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