Community joins for holiday fun
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 00:12
West Virginia University and the Morgantown community came together in the Mountainlair Friday to spread holiday cheer to less fortunate children.
At WVU’s Holiday Community Night, people gathered in support of Toy Mountain and Students Helping Other People (S.H.O.P) programs led by WVU students to benefit local children during the holiday season through gift donations.
"The S.H.O.P. program and Toy Mountain have been around and have been supported by student organizations for many, many years, but this is the first year where we wanted to really expand and give the communities an opportunity to give back," said Gretchen Hoover, special event coordinator of the Office for University Events.
"The Office of University Events joined with Student Works and the Mountainlair, and we are just trying to have a fun night and invite the
community in and give back at the same time."
Upon entering the Mountainlair, guests were tantalized with an array of Christmas cookies, hot chocolate and decorations, turning the Mountainlair into a winter wonderland.
Children and adults of all ages were entertained by a cookie-decorating station, discounted bowling, a chance to make a personalized mug, face painting with Miss Tea Cup, pictures with Santa and free refreshments.
Amid all the activities, a mountain of toys began to shape up from donations.
"It is its 26th year here at WVU, and the mission of S.H.O.P is to raise financial contributions to take less fortunate families and their children to go shopping for Christmas presents for the children to open on Christmas," said Ryan Cox, Interfraternity Council President.
"A lot of times, this is the only gift that these kids get to open on Christmas and is quite literally the difference from these families’ children having a merry Christmas and not
having Christmas at all," he said.
WVU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to drop off new, unwrapped toys (valued at $5 or more) at the Student Organization Services office in the Mountainlair.
The toys will go to the Salvation Army and Christian Help.
Additionally, there will be a financial and toy contribution collection at the men’s basketball game vs. Virginia Tech Saturday at 4 p.m. and the women’s basketball game vs. St. Bonaventure Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
"This program really is the essence of West Virginia; it is something that has, without fail, been a success and touched a lot of lives of families here in Morgantown," Cox said.
"WVU is a huge family, and I think it’s great that not only the students and the University faculty families come out but
everyone in the Morgantown community," said 2012 Ms. Mountaineer Hilah Zia.
"Obviously, you can see there’s dining services and there’s Miss Tea Cup, Santa and all the String of Pearls Dancers – it’s not just a University aspect; it’s a whole community involved."
WVU students interested in volunteering to help with S.H.O.P. can
contact Kristin KleinSchmidt at 304-293-4397 or email@example.com.
To learn about other ways to contribute, follow S.H.O.P. and Toy Mountain on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShopAtWestVirginiaUniversity?ref=stream or on Twitter @SHOP_WVU.