Sage Kiernan-Sherrow | News Editor
Following a record-breaking year in donations, the annual WOU Toy Drive is once again setting up collection boxes for the Christmas season.
The campus drive has been operating for the past seven years, and developed “organically” after a foster student named Matthew Burley asked why there wasn’t a holiday program for foster-care and underprivileged students, said Jackson Stalley, a library technician at Western and coordinator for the toy drive.
After finding campus partners, the drive has “become a part of WOU’s holiday culture,” said Stalley, “it became so popular and successful because of the generosity of our campus … people rely on us.”
Western’s Toy Drive operates separately from the Student Veterans of America’s Toys for Tots, and is the primary donor of holiday gifts to local organizations such as the Sable House, DHS and the Liberty House in Salem — organizations that provide services to those in the foster care system and to families experiencing domestic violence, as well.
The first year that they delivered the toys, one of the organizations had about eight presents prior, Stalley recalled. Every year, “it’s stunning how happy (people) are to receive the gifts,” Stalley said.
This year, Stalley hopes to “keep the momentum” from the previous year, and wants to remind students and community members that they’re “more than just toys and gifts.” For some, “the idea that some stranger out there cared was a reminder to be hopeful,” said Stalley.
Students and faculty wanting to donate have until Dec. 9 to do so and can find more information as well as a wishlist through Stalley’s email sent out on Nov. 12 or by contacting him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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