The Orion

Chico State program has giving spirit

Amanda Rhine

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CADEC interns, Aaron Thao and Jazmine De La Cruz, support the Giving Tree project. Photo credit: Amanda Rhine

Christmas is a time to laugh, spread cheer and exchange presents with loved ones. Sadly, many families experience financial hardship and often cannot afford presents.

Roughly 20 years running, the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center’s Giving Tree project now works with two charities, Stepping Stones and Northern Valley Catholic Social Services, with one goal in mind: to provide Christmas gifts for children who wouldn’t likely receive them otherwise.

“What we do is work with those two programs and we get names of children that are in need of presents that their parents can’t afford,” said Jazmin De La Cruz, a junior kinesiology major and CADEC intern.

Once CADEC receives the names, they make each child three tags listing names, ages and genders, and place them on Christmas trees located all over campus.

Locations include:

  • Cross Cultural Leadership Center
  • Bell Memorial Union lobby
  • Student Services Center lobby
  • Student Health Center

“When (people) are passing by a tree hopefully they pick a child’s name and that person is able to hopefully go out and buy something for that child,” De La Cruz said.

The project ends Dec. 17 when CADEC takes all the unwrapped gifts collected and gives them to the charities. The charities then give them to the parents so they are able to wrap the gifts and put them under the Christmas trees for their children.

“I think it’s awesome that people want to (participate). That’s the best part about it,” De La Cruz said. “People see children’s names and how old they are and have an idea of what they would want at that age and they have the ability to go get something for a kid.”

Aaron Thao, a junior international relations major and CADEC intern, is working on the Giving Tree project for the first time and is happy to be a part of something that focuses on giving rather than receiving during the holidays.

“I think it’s a great way to have the opportunity to give back to our community in such a meaningful way,” Thao said. “Especially with the youth population that we, as peer educators and Chico State students, make such a great impact on.”

Amanda Rhine can be reached at [email protected] or @am_rhine on Twitter.

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Chico State program has giving spirit