25, No. 12, Dec. 15, 2005
campus members bring hope to many during the holidays
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
photo to enlarge
by L. Brian Stauffer
Stu Schaff, a senior in finance, and Sara Gibbs, a
sophomore in international studies, sort the toys
collected by the Office of Volunteer Programs during
its third annual toy drive. Students, and faculty
and staff members donated 525 toys for distribution
to children in the Champaign-Urbana area, surpassing
OVP’s goal by 25 toys. Next year, OVP’s
goal is to collect 600 toys.
Hundreds of people
may feel like Santa Claus received their letters this Christmas, thanks
to the generosity of UI faculty and staff members.
Staff members in the Facilities and Services Division and the Office
of Volunteer Programs are collecting toys for children in the Champaign-Urbana
area. F&S, on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for
Tots campaign, hopes to collect a mound of toys so big it could fill
a cargo truck.
Staff members and students in the Office of Volunteer Programs, which
collected more than 400 toys last year, collected more than 500 toys
this year for distribution to 11 local organizations, including Cunningham
Children’s Home and the Center for Women in Transition. In lieu
of an office gift exchange, staff members in the office of Student Development,
Programs and Activities decided to donate toys that they wished they
had received when they were children.
“I’ve been impressed with the response we got from all the
student organizations and the campus in general,” said Sara Gibbs,
a sophomore majoring in international studies who works in OVP. “I
think it’s one of the charity drives that people have a lot of
fun doing. People like to shop for toys and get kind of excited about
it. It’s been fun to work with.”
Delta Sigma Omicron, the service fraternity for students and alumni
with disabilities, continued its tradition of a toy drive and its annual
holiday party. The party, held Dec. 10 at Leonhard Recreation Center
in Champaign, treated more than 200 children and youth with disabilities
to an afternoon of games, crafts and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The toy drive and party were sponsored by the Greater Champaign County
AMBUCS, the local chapter of the national service organization that
promotes independence and mobility for people with disabilities; WCCF-FM
(92.5); WICD-TV; and C-U Special Recreation. Since its inception in
2001, the toy drive has collected more than 4,000 toys and other items
for area children.
F&S stuff a truck with toys
Facilities and Services is teaming up with the Champaign County
Chapter of Toys for Tots to “Stuff a Truck With Toys for
Tots.” The goal is to fill a 16-foot cargo truck with
new, unwrapped toys. Toys will be collected through Dec. 20.
Toy drop-off locations:
Physical Plant Services Building, 1501 S. Oak St.
Services, 52 E. Gregory St.
Public Safety Building, 1110 Springfield Ave., Suite 201
& Car Pool, 1701 S. Oak St.
Mail & Receiving, 1609 S. Oak St.
The Business College
Academic Professionals, an organization for the 85 academic professionals
who work in that college, collected clothing and personal care items
for people at the TIMES Center homeless shelter in Champaign and for
families living in Champaign, Urbana and Rantoul who were displaced
by Hurricane Katrina. Mary Sproat, a secretary for the Master of Business
Administration program, said that BCAP initially planned to help just
one family, but the outpouring of donations was so great that four additional
families benefited from the largesse, which included gifts of appliances,
furniture and other household items.
“People were very, very generous,” said Jo Duchene, BCAP’s
chair and assistant dean of undergraduate affairs in the College of
Business. “I think everyone was touched by what happened. Most
people felt that in their own small way they were helping make a difference
Thanks to staff
members at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, some
families in Central Illinois will receive perhaps the most precious
gift of all – time with loved ones who are military personnel
deployed to Iraq. Nancy Komlanc, coordinator of education and training
for the DuPage Technology Research, Education and Commercialization
Center, a program administered by NCSA, is coordinating videoconferences
between Central Illinois residents and family members in the military
with the help of the Freedom Calls Foundation, a nonprofit agency that
provides free telephone, video-conferencing and Internet services for
active-duty military personnel and their families.
Up to 120 families
will have private, 30-minute videoconferences with loved ones in Iraq
on Dec. 20 or 21. Freedom Calls will contact the soldiers, and if they
are near one of the three military bases it services in Iraq –
Camp Taji/Camp Cooke, Camp Fallujah or Camp al Asad – will schedule
the videoconferences. Komlanc is scheduling the families’ use
of NCSA’s videoconference rooms and plans to ask local businesses
to donate food and cocoa for the families to enjoy during their visits.
Komlanc said it has been a poignant experience helping people set up
“Every time a family calls me on the phone, I choke,” said
Komlanc. “I can hardly talk with them.”