'A Spirit of Giving'
HCC opens 18th annual Giving Tree Campaign
Last November, having just been selected as the new president of Holyoke Community College, Christina Royal sent money from Minnesota to her future staff assistant Nelson Lopez to fulfill the holiday wishes of some needy Holyoke children.
"I assume he used the money to buy gifts," Royal joked last week during the kickoff for this year's HCC Giving Tree Campaign.
"I did," Lopez replied, adding that he picked at least eight gift tags from the Giving Tree to fulfill on her behalf.
This year, newly inaugurated President Christina Royal chose another handful of tags herself, all of them for children at Holyoke's Homework House.
"I'm very happy to be part of this," she said. "I'm really very touched that we have this tradition and a spirit of giving here at HCC. It's touching but not surprising. I've seen it in the many ways we care for students and the generosity of donors who contribute to student scholarships. This really showcases how HCC is focused on giving to our local community."
For this, the 18th annual Giving Tree Campaign, gifts purchased by members of the HCC community will support children, elders and veterans at four local nonprofit agencies: the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, WestMass Elder Care, the Holyoke Soldiers Home - and Homework House.
The yellow tags President Royal selected were for boys and girls age 8 to 10. She gravitated toward tags for children who wanted puzzles and games.
"I know when I was little the kinds of gifts I would have liked to have," she said. "I remember when I got my first robotics kit. The idea that there were Legos with moving parts was just so cool."
This year's Giving Tree campaign closes on Thurs., Dec. 14, with the presentation of gifts to representatives from each of the four agencies from 10 a.m. to noon.
Giving Trees are located in the main lobby on the third floor of the Frost Building and in the HCC Library on the second floor of Donahue. There is also a small Giving Tree in the lounge area on the second floor of the Kittredge Center.
To participate, choose a tag from any one of the Giving Trees; write your name and contact information on the bottom half of the tag; tear that part off and deposit it into the Giving Tree box next to the tree; buy the gift; wrap it; attach the top part of the tag with a piece of tap and bring it to Nelson Lopez in the President's Office on the third floor of the Frost Building by Dec. 6.
Questions should be directed to Gail Golas, the Giving Tree campaign chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 552.2270.
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: (Thumbnail) HCC Student Senate president Heather Paiva Perez browses the tags on this year's HCC Giving Tree. (Above) HCC president Christina Royal picks some gift tags off this year's Giving Tree.