With Christmas getting closer, the social work department is holding their annual Holiday Shoppe on Dec. 4 and 5. For more than 20 years the social work department has worked with DHS to raise funds and collect donations to purchase Christmas gifts for deserving families. This past week 900 invites were sent to families to participate in the event.
The Holiday Shoppe benefits families all over Bremer County. Because of that, donations are an important aspect of the event. The department collects donations of money, gift cards and gifts from anyone who is willing to help, including local businesses, schools, churches, students and people from the community.
“There are so many people on campus and so many people in the community that are willing to help and that’s always really awesome to see,” social work student Audrey List said.
The Holiday Shoppe collects donations for children ranging from newborn to 18-month-old, which can sometimes be difficult to acquire gifts for every age group.
“We always get a lot of gifts for the younger kids and not so much for the older kids so a lot of the teenagers that are in the program there isn’t much to chose from,” List said.
List said that it can be hard to shop for teenagers, especially boys. This year the department is looking into purchasing interview appropriate clothing for the older teens that are about to enter the workforce.
There are three different committees that divide up the work and fundraising for the event. The on-campus committee, which List is apart of, is in charge of working with dorms, facility, and the PR aspect of the event, as well as putting up trees around campus where students can donate gifts.
There is also the local business committee that works on collecting donations from local businesses as well as toys for tots. The third committee is the church and school committee which works with local churches and schools to collect in-kind donations.
“As a social work student, I’m able to experience fundraising and getting experience working with committees and gaining PR skills,” List said.
The senior social work class is responsible for the fundraising aspect of the event but anyone is welcome to volunteer to help. It’s a great opportunity for anyone to make someone’s Christmas just a little bit better.
“My favorite part is seeing the families going through the line and being able to get those gifts for their kids because they may not be able to provide those gifts for Christmas,” List said.