During the winter season, many families around Ypsilanti struggle to provide winter necessities to their children, including coats, hats and gloves. Not only is it hard to afford these items, but some families cannot afford presents under a Christmas tree.
To help with the holidays, Eastern Michigan University’s VISION Volunteer Center set up miniature Christmas trees around the most populated buildings on campus.
“We just want to reach as many students as possible and give them the opportunity to sponsor a child,” said Megan Anthony, VISION’s volunteer coordinator.
These special trees around campus have tags attached to them with a suggested gift item for a child under the age of 18. Items on these tags are very accessible and range from necessity to play toy.
All of the gifts on the tags go to the Ypsilanti Housing Commission and the Salvation Army, which specifically serve families in the immediate Ypsilanti community.
The YHC, according to ypsilantihc.org, is “a business committed to excellence through an effective and efficient process in providing quality housing and creating an environment which will provide our customers opportunity, access to resources, and the expectation that our communities will be safe, secure places to live and for residents to realize their full potential and opportunities inclusive of homeownership.”
When asked about the response from the students, Anthony said, “It’s usually one of our best drives.”
In total, there were 150 tags spread among the multiple trees on campus. The students at EMU have taken every single one of the tags. This factor is the driving force behind the Sharing Trees.
“Having the ability to help somebody else have a good holiday felt nice,” said Anthony. “Because I was able to afford it, I felt that I should spread my privilege and allow someone else to have a good holiday too.”
Although the Sharing Tree participation deadline has passed, there are many other ways to get involved with VISION. For more information, join the VISION mailing list at emich.edu/vision or stop by the VISION office in room 346 of the Student Center.
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