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CSF sponsors Christmas stars

Every holiday session a handful of underprivileged children cannot experience the joy of gifts or family. Usually they come from poor families with one or both parents outside the home, incarcerated, or dead. The Salvation Army has for over fifty years, provided gifts to needy children for the holidays. Most of the time spent on the project is from community volunteers.

“We work very hard to make these children feel loved,” Pam Donaldson, volunteer for the Star Tree program, said. “We want them to feel that there is someone that cares for them even though one or both parents are gone. It brings us great joy to see their faces when you give them a very special present for Christmas.”

On campus the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) sponsors children through one of two Salvation Army programs. CSF provided children holiday gifts through the Angel Tree Program three years ago, but changed to the Star Tree because of anxiety, safety and organization.

“The Angel Tree was too stressful,” Molly Sargent, CSF administrator, said. “We had to deliver the gifts to the child in person; which is not the safest place to be. With Star Tree, the Salvation Army does the organization, paperwork and delivery.”

Last year CSF sponsored 150 children, but not all children received gits from the student body.

“Even though we had a lot of children taken,” Lindsay De Costa, ’02, CSF officer, said, “there were some names I had to return back to the Salvation Army. That is why this year CSF is sponsoring just 100 children, so that all of them receive a gift.”

Sponsoring children not only gives the kids an opportunity to enjoy the holidays, but it also teaches the students the value of humility.

“The Star Tree program to me is a great way to learn selflessness,” De Costa said, “Because we have so much compared to those less fortunate.”

During the first day of Star Tree sign-ups, 47 stars were sponsored by students. Each gift must be purchased and returned to Sargent by Dec. 15. Each gift will include a clothing item and a toy for a child. Each child’s first name, age, clothing size and toy preference is listed on a star to help the student purchase gifts.

“I enjoy helping children who do not have their parents around for the holidays,” Matthew Taterian, ?05, said. “I would feel alone if that had happened to me. Giving a gift makes me feel like I’m helping them out.”

For more information, contact the Salvation Army at www.salvationarmy.org or in Fresno call 435-5783. After the holiday, students or other interested persons can also organize a Star Tree by contacting local Salvation Army Thrift Stores.

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