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'Tis the Season for Giving to the Community

  • holiday gift drive
  • Ware Institute interns Cherylen Watts '15 (left) and Becca Green '14 organize gifts donated by the F&M community for Lancaster residents in need. (Photo by Tim Brixius)

Continuing a longstanding tradition, members of the Franklin & Marshall College community are helping to brighten the holiday season for hundreds of Lancaster residents in need.

F&M's Ware Institute for Civic Engagement is running a holiday gift drive to benefit children, families and senior citizens throughout Lancaster. F&M students, faculty members and professional staff and their families are donating gifts for more than 230 local residents whose gift wishes they selected through the Ware Institute's website. Participants in the drive -- which has been an F&M tradition since approximately 1987 -- will deliver gifts to the Ware Institute by Dec. 10. The College is hosting an additional giving opportunity at a luncheon Dec. 17.

The Ware Institute gift drive benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster; Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster; School District of Lancaster Homeless Project Students; Spanish American Civic Association senior citizens; students at Reynolds Middle School; and local refugee families from Bhutan and Nepal.

Sandi Smoker, department coordinator of the Ware Institute, organizes the College's holiday giving efforts each year. Smoker calls the gift drive the best part of her job at F&M.

"It's been said that if you can make a person smile, you can change their world," Smoker said. "Each year I have the privilege of delivering gifts to each of the agencies, and I want to assure each person who donated that they did change the world of a person. Thank you to the F&M family for being so generous."

F&M student Sarah Strong '14 donated gift cards to the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, where she has volunteered in the past.

"I believe one of the most important parts of the holidays is utilizing this time as an opportunity to share with others and promote bringing communities together," said Strong, a joint studies major at the College. "It was exciting to contribute to making the holidays a special time for families that benefit from the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster. Events like the gift drive are what really amp me up for the holidays. I feel so fortunate that I could contribute this year."

Members of the F&M faculty and professional staff have an additional chance to donate gifts at the campus holiday luncheon Dec. 17 at noon in Benjamin Franklin Dining Hall. The College is collecting unwrapped clothing items such as hats, scarves, mittens or socks for children or adults.

The F&M community also recently rallied around the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the New Jersey coast in late October.