GSU Community Starts Holidays Early - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/13/06

GSU Community Starts Holidays Early

Santa's not the only one making a list and checking it twice. Jennifer Hammer tracks the gift tags on Georgia Southern's Holiday Helpers Tree. The tags list gifts that could go to needy in Bulloch County.

"I have to be honest. Sometimes I work it just so I can be among the first to pick from the tags," she confessed.

For the past 13 years, organizers get lists of names and needs from local agencies. This year, they'll post more than 900 people on the tree. Students, faculty and staff take tags and return with gifts. Requests include toys, blankets or just warm clothes.

"It makes you realize how much you have and how much you have compared to others," explained Kayla Rowan, another volunteer. "Even though we say we're starving college students, we have more than other people."

Between the tags already taken and those still on the tree, the list of those in need ranges from two months to 102 years old. But many still share one thing.

"The gifts they get through this project at Georgia Southern may be the only gift they get for a year from anyone," said organizer Eileen Sconyers.

Jennifer says if it helps brighten just one person's holiday, she doesn't mind tree sitting between now and then.

The Holiday Helpers Tree will be up until November 28. If you'd like to give a gift or help staff the tree or help wrap the gifts, you can get more information at the Lakeside Cafe on the Georgia Southern campus.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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