The Christmas tree in the Campus Store is noticeably larger this year.
Bigger branches and a taller trunk were necessary so Tacey Atkinson and Dan Lewis could hang as many blue and red paper angels as possible.
Each one represents a local boy or girl waiting to be selected to receive a gift in the Adopt an Angel program, a partnership between Brock and Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold to spread some holiday cheer to those who need it.
This year, Atkinson and Lewis, Campus Store director, hope faculty, staff and students will step up to donate gifts to 500 children - more than ever before.
“This year, there were so many kids, (Community Care) asked us to take 500 and that’s not the whole community,” said Atkinson, Campus Store sales and service co-ordinator. “They just asked because they knew we could do it.”
The proof was in last year’s generosity of donors who played Santa Claus to local children in need. Four hundred names of children between the ages of one and 12 adorned the tree in 2012 and, in the end, people purchased 450 gifts.
“If we band together, we can do it this year,” Atkinson said. “We at Brock are very community-oriented and understand the importance of youth. These kids are our future and one day they’re going to grow up and possibly be future students at Brock.”
The Campus Store is making it easier to reach its goal, too, with more opportunities to give to the campaign.
In addition to donors selecting an angel from the tree and heading to the mall, Atkinson and Lewis have already purchased several toys worth between $10 and $20 and are reselling them with no markup at the store. That way angel selection and shopping can be done in one shot for donors pressed for time.
As a token of thanks, those who donate gifts will be given a coupon for $10 off any purchase of $25 or more at the Campus Store.
Those buying anything from books to bubble gum at the store between now and Dec. 9 will also be asked if they’d like to donate $1 or more to go toward the purchase of toys.
“We expect this will really help reach our goal this year,” Atkinson said. “We wanted to make it so everyone could participate, no matter what their ability. I’m very excited about the program this year because we want everyone to feel involved.”
To participate, visit the Campus Store and select an angel with a child’s age and gender. Then purchase an age-appropriate gift - there is no minimum that must be spent - and return it to the store unwrapped with the angel affixed to it by end of day Dec. 9.
For those wanting to add a stocking stuffer or two, Community Care also needs new, unused warm winter accessories, such as mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, boots, coats, snowsuits, long underwear, pajamas, slippers and socks for its clients.