La Salle’s annual toy and gift drive will support a West Philadelphia church and its congregants for the 16th year.
For the 16th consecutive year, the La Salle University community will look to bring holiday cheer to families in Philadelphia’s Mantua section.
La Salle’s Division of University Ministry, Service, and Support (UMSS) has led a gift and toy drive annually since 2006 to support children at The Church of New Hope and Faith in West Philadelphia. This year is no exception.
UMSS encourages students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of La Salle to contribute. The Church of New Hope and Faith’s Youth Department has established Amazon wish lists for children from more than 25 families across four age-specific groups—ages 16-17; ages 13-15; ages 8-12; and ages 4-7. The final day to purchase a gift or toy from the wishlists is Monday, Dec. 20, to allow appropriate time for delivery.
How you can contribute
The Church of New Hope and Faith’s Youth Department has established Amazon wish lists for children in four groups—ages 16-17; ages 13-15; ages 8-12; and ages 4-7. Purchase a gift no later than Monday, Dec. 20, to allow time for delivery.
“Philadelphia is America’s poorest big city, and the pandemic has exacerbated the divide between the haves and have-nots,” said Regina Gauss Kosiek, director of university ministry at La Salle. “The annual toy and gift drive has always been a way, during a season of gratitude and giving, to make sure we are reaching out in solidarity to members of our Philadelphia community. It is a very Lasallian way of marking this season of preparation in Advent.”
“The Youth Council sends our deepest thanks and warmest regards to the wonderful staff and students at La Salle for working with us each year during the holiday season,” said Sandra Wells, a programs coordinator with the Church of New Hope and Faith. “Because of your selfless efforts, we were and are able to make the season just a little bit brighter for families and kids from the community, especially during these very trying and precarious times.”
This marks the second consecutive year that La Salle UMSS has gone digital with its annual holiday gift and toy drive. For the first 14 years, members of the La Salle community would pull a tag from one of several faux Christmas trees placed in buildings throughout campus. The tags disclosed the age and gender of a child for whom a gift or toy was to be purchased.
The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the 2020 drive online and, following a successful campaign that supported 25 families, that format continues this year.
Adaptation occurred out of necessity, Gauss Kosiek said, and the format change had unanticipated positive consequences.
“For one, it widened our reach and ability to support these families,” she said. “As an example, I posted about the campaign on Facebook, and a friend from grad school in Arkansas contributed. My extended family bought gifts. The toy and gift drive became broader than just our campus community and we were able to make a bigger impact.”