TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16
Christmas might bring the season of giving, but the spirit of giving at Oklahoma City University began on Halloween.
That’s when the campus-wide Angel Tree program was planted, and according to its organizer the cheerful giving process took hold quickly on a holiday better known for its tricks than its treats.
“We started during our annual United Way Day auction,” said Sarah Krivy, the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel administrator and OCU organizer for the Angel Tree program, in reference to the charity campaign event held around the time of homecoming. “By two o’clock, all the angels were called for.”
Krivy, surprised by the quick response, ordered another round of “angel” candidates to replenish the tree, and all but five of the second group was claimed. A total of 160 names were selected from the list, one of which included a dog that wanted a chew toy for Christmas.
The university, a United Methodist institution, has been participating in the program for several years to assist Skyline Urban Ministries, a United Methodist charity group. For their Christmas Grace program, Skyline Urban Ministries makes a list of underprivileged families and individuals and disperses it amongst groups, businesses and individuals. Those who are willing to help select a name or a family name from the list.
The adoptees then purchase goods requested by those on the list and mark who they go to. The charity delivers the items to the families in time for Christmas.
Krivy said she was impressed with the results of the Angel Tree program on campus this year, especially when considering the climate of the economy. Imogene Bates, organizer of the Christmas Grace program, agreed, adding that the increased level of support is definitely needed this year.
“The level of donations this year is about the same as last year, but there is a big increase in the number of people asking for help,” Bates said. “We have more people coming back to us more often now.”
OCU collected a bulk of items earlier this month during its Light the Campus event, which will also benefit two other charities – the Exodus House and the Latino Community Development Center. Besides the gifts, Light the Campus featured a food and clothing drive to help the charities. The drive collected enough edible items to fill 53 food baskets and about 1,000 toys were donated.
Krivy said between the two efforts - Light the Campus and the Angel Tree - the amount of items collected in the university banquet room was almost overwhelming.
“Every surface of that room has toys and food stacked on it,” she said. “It took a lot of volunteers a long time to get it all sorted out.”