The Season of Giving
Reported by Danielle Brown
Every year the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) fundraises money in order to put together a “12 Days of Christmas” for families identified by local churches who need some extra love during the Christmas season. Then, SAAC buys presents for each family member for the 12 days leading up to Christmas, including fuzzy socks and a disposable camera.
“The church lets us know their clothing sizes, shoe sizes and games or activities that they may be interested in. We take that information and we shop, and when I say shop, I mean like ‘shop ‘til you drop,’’ said Elise Trask, associate director of Athletics. “You should see our office area during this, there are presents scattered everywhere.”
Members of SAAC come in the following weekend to wrap all the presents for the families while listening to Christmas music. Afterwards, they drop off the presents.
“Last year we had four cars full of people and presents,” said Trask. “The families don't know when we are going to drop off the gifts, and most of the time, the families have no idea that the gifts are even coming; it's a total surprise.”
While the mode of fundraising has evolved over the years, the cause has not changed at all. In the past couple of years, SAAC has used the Conference Coin Drive competition as their two-day fundraising event to raise the money for all the presents. This year, they raised over $2,800.
This idea was brought forward by Courtney Howard, a softball player at GFU, who wanted to raise money within the athletic department for the 12 Days of Christmas. “Courtney's dad passed away when she was a kid and a family from her hometown blessed them with their own 12 Days of Christmas,” said Trask. “This memory stuck with Courtney over the years and knowing the impact that it had on her life, especially during such a challenging time, she wanted to pay it forward to families in Newberg.”