The holiday season is best known for its merriment and cheer, brightly colored bows and perfectly lit trees, but most importantly the holiday season offers added reason to give. Several organizations within Southern Utah University and across Iron County are aiming to help more than a thousand people this holiday season, and you can help.
Beginning five years ago, SUU combined efforts with Iron County Holiday Assistance (ICHA) to give Christmas to families in the county that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford much by way of holiday festivities. Their impact continues to spread, and the two organizations now have eight programs within which community members may participate to give back this holiday season.
The largest of these efforts is the creation of the Holiday Store. Donations of both cash and goods will be gathered to a central location where those in need may “shop” for gifts for their family at no expense.
“Having families choose what their children will be getting at the Holiday Store empowers them and has proven to be more effective than giving them a box of what we think would match the child’s interests,” said Pam Branin, associate director the Community Engagement Center at SUU.
Gifts aren’t the only way you can contribute to the Holiday Store; volunteers are needed on Sunday, December 8 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Monday, December 9 through Friday, December 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for one-hour shifts. Spanish speaking volunteers are especially needed on Tuesday, December 10.
For both the Holiday Store and Stuff the Truck, Branin said that all donations are accepted but requests that gifts be new or gently used, and unwrapped. Some of the most requested items from families in need are toys, clothing and shoes for children up to 18 years old, diapers, sports equipment and coats. Donations will be accepted until December 6 and can be taken directly to SUU’s Community Engagement Center, at 417 W. 200 S.
To donate food, specifically, SUU and ICHA request that contributions be taken directly to the Community Engagement Center or Iron County Care and Share, 244 W. 900 N.