By Alli Hill
The Saint Mary’s University community, led by the Cardinal Athletic Council (CAC) and SMU volunteers, enters into the giving season through programs like Toys for Teens and Gifts for Winona.
This is the second time that the Cardinal Athletic Council (CAC) has been involved in this event.
CAC is SMU’s own student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC), a committee that is at all of the other MIAC schools. Toys for Teens is put on by the SAAC at each school. “The idea behind it was to donate toys to Toys for Tots while focusing on an age group that is not only closer to the college-age, but is also often forgotten about in holiday gift collections,” explained senior Kasey Schultz, president of CAC at SMU.
The toys were collected last week and will be donated to Toys for Tots on Dec. 13. Along with SMU, the other MIAC schools will also be donating their toys on that date.
CAC is not the only group in the holiday spirit this year; Gifts for Winona is a community-wide gift giving event for those less fortunate in Winona County that has been going on since 2002. Families sign up at various service agencies in the county and tell them what their request list would be. These lists are then collected and processed at SMU. Hundreds of cards are printed with the request lists along with whether the person is a male or female.
The cards are placed on trees at various locations in Winona as well as SMU. People can choose a card, shop for the items, wrap them and then return them to the same location by Dec. 13. “It’s always a nerve-wracking and scary thing to get the tags to go out,” said Deb Nahrgang, director of communications. “These tags represent a person. It would be heartbreaking to turn them away without any gifts.”
Luckily, as Nahrgang explained, they have been extremely fortunate to have people come at the last minute with donations so that people can buy the gifts left on the cards. There are currently plenty of cards left as well as a chance to donate money. People can make their checks out to “Gifts for Winona” and drop them off at the Student Services windows.