Editor’s Note: It should be understood that with underserved children in mind, members of the Daily Lobo, including Amy Byres, independently volunteered at the of the Giving Tree release party on Nov. 27 and have also made donations themselves.
Now through Dec. 8, the University of New Mexico community will have the opportunity to give to children in need through the annual Giving Tree, organized by the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico.
This year gifts are donated to the UNM Children's Hospital, Albuquerque Public Schools Title I and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
A tree in the Student Union Building Atrium is filled with ornaments that have a tag attached to them from a child in need. Each tag lists something a child wants for the holiday season.
To donate, participants pick an ornament off the tree then buy the gift listed on the ornament tag. The unwrapped gift must be taken to the ASUNM office in the SUB, Room 1060, before Dec. 8.
Students enjoy taking photos with Lobo Louie and Lobo Lucy during the Giving Tree event in the UNM SUB on Nov. 27, 2017.
In return for the charitable donation, the donors are able keep the ornament.
“My favorite thing about (the Giving Tree) is the time of year. I love giving, especially around the holiday season, and so for me this is the perfect event,” said Kailey Wulfert, Executive Director of ASUNM’s Community Experience.
UNM mascots Lobo Louie and Lucy also made an appearance at the Giving Tree’s release party on Nov. 27, for pictures with those donating and participating in the the charity.
“I think it's a great thing that our University does every year.I’m really happy that the tradition is continuing to go on, because I think that it allows college students, staff and faculty and administration to give back to the community in a way that really impacts kids and families,” ASUNM President Noah Brooks said.
For sophomore Acaiscia Strain, this year’s Giving Tree hit close to home.
“Coming from the experience of not always having what I needed, I think this is a good idea,” Strain said.
The Giving Tree provides children with Christmas gifts they may not have otherwise had.
“I think we’ve developed a really good Christmas culture, in a way,” said Rebecca Faulkner, ASUNM Community Experience project director. “I am very excited to see all the gifts that get donated and how well this event goes.”
Gift requests hanging on the Giving Tree range from necessities like socks, hoodies and gloves to arts and crafts kits and books.
With the tree available to everyone on campus, “this is always a really great thing to do in the spirit of giving, and so I think the Giving Tree is unique,” UNM senior Jaimie Lin said.
Amy Byres is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amybyres12.