SILVIA OAKLAND, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Wartburg College’s social work department will host the annual Holiday Shoppe event from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 9 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 10. The event, similar to the Toys-for-Tots program, provides Wartburg students, faculty and staff with a way to give back to the community during the holiday season.
“We collect donations during Fall Term, and then use those donations as a way to provide for families and children in need,” Brittany Strause, third-year social work major, said. “This allows us to work with families to ensure that their children have the holiday season they deserve despite financial barriers they may face.”
The senior social work majors work closely with the Toys-for-Tots program, United Way and other local programs in the community to collect donations for the Holiday Shoppe. “For the past couple years I’ve donated my time by sending letters out to families in the community and assisting parents shop for the toys that they’ll be giving their children,” Megan Malaski, fourth-year social work major, said. “I think it really reminds me every year about what the season is about and the little things in life are the ones that matter most.”
Parents and guardians visit the host site of Holiday Shoppe and are helped by volunteers to pick out toys for children who are under 18 years old. A variety of gifts are provided including books, movies, toys and even personal hygiene products.
The Holiday Shoppe is volunteer-based and students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get involved with Holiday Shoppe through either donating time or gifts for the event. To donate a gift, take a tag from one of the several trees around campus and buy a gift for the age listed on the tag. Strause encouraged everyone to participate in Holiday Shoppe as it is a low time commitment and the experience is rewarding.
“There are so many ways to get involved in Holiday Shoppe and it is such a rewarding experience,” Strause said. “We are also looking for volunteers to staff the event in December. There are various shifts and students can stay as little or as long as they would like, we have openings in assisting parents and guardians in choosing gifts and childcare.”
For those interested in volunteering with the Holiday Shoppe, contact Malaski at megan.malaski@ wartburg.edu.