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Illinois State University’s longtime Holiday Helper program kicks off

An Illinois State University student and a holiday helper child.

The Holiday Helper program works with area children in need of holiday gifts.

It seems a little early to be thinking about holidays, but planning for Holiday Helper starts early.

Illinois State University students create gifts with their Holiday Helper children.

Illinois State University students create gifts with their Holiday Helper children.

Holiday Helper is a more than 20-year-old tradition at Illinois State University where students, faculty, and staff come together to provide gifts for children in the Bloomington-Normal community whose families may struggle during holiday times. Organized by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, Holiday Helper partners with Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal, Unity Community Center, Western Avenue Community Center, and the Center for Youth and Family Solutions who help identify children in need of holiday gifts.

This year child sponsorship begins on Monday, October 16. Sponsors are able to choose children from a list of over 300, and purchase gifts from that child’s needs and wants list. Individuals can sponsor a child, or members of an RSO or department may participate together. The gifts are expected to total approximately $50 and are due back to the Center by November 27 where they will be wrapped. The program finishes when the gifts are distributed in early December at parties for the kids, planned and run by student volunteers.

Come by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning between 2–4 p.m. on October 16 to sponsor a child and enjoy holiday treats at our kick-off event. Sponsorship will run through November 17 or until all children are sponsored. Stop by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning between 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday–Friday to sponsor a child.

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