One of the best parts of the holiday season is not receiving gifts, but giving them. There’s nothing like seeing the face of someone you love light up and knowing you’ve picked the perfect gift. A great gift can be more than a material item, it can also be a donation to a charity in someone’s name. Nothing gives you that “warm fuzzy” feeling like doing a good thing for another person. This holiday season it is more important than ever to give to charitable organizations. After Sept. 11, the Red Cross was flooded with donations. This is a wonderful thing and will benefit many people, but other charities have seen a drop in donations as a result, and many are hurting for funds. You can show your support for whichever organization represents your interests, and there are opportunities for giving on a nation-wide, city-wide and campus-wide level.

City of Rochester

There are plenty of opportunities for students to give back to the city of Rochester this season. The Geva Theatre is collecting toys for the Salvation Army before its Family Night performances of “A Christmas Carol.” This is a great chance to spend an evening watching a wonderful play and also give to a good cause. Family Nights are Dec. 5, 6, 11,12, 13, 18 and 19.

You can give directly to the Salvation Army by donating money online at

Money is not the only way you can help out, as the organization is in desperate need of volunteers. Volunteers can help staff the Toy Shop, ring bells for the Red Kettle Campaign or participate in Adopt-A-Family and help provide a family with gifts for this holiday season. To volunteer your time, contact the Salvation Army at 987-9540, extension 2281.

Habitat for Humanity is a national organization that works with volunteers and future homeowners to build affordable housing. The Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity is one of the most active in the nation, and recently completed its 100th house. You can donate to Habitat online at secure. and specify that the donation is for the “Flower City Habitat for Humanity in Rochester, N.Y.”

The Ronald McDonald House is another national organization that has a direct impact on the Rochester community. This organization offers low-cost housing and support to families of children who need serious medical care. Families are supplied with a room, free transportation to the hospital, free long distance phone calls and more, for only $10 per family per night. There is a Ronald McDonald House across the street from the Graduate Living Center that services Strong Memorial Hospital. Check out the local McDonald House’s website at to find out how to give money or to read the list of materials you can donate.

On-Campus Giving

Many campus organizations are sponsoring donation drives on campus for various charities.

The Black Student Union is sponsoring a canned food drive. Alpha Delta Phi and the D’Lions are sponsoring a Freshman Quad food drive, and the proceeds will go to Foodlink, a food clearinghouse organization that provides food to Western New York.

The drive began this Tuesday with David Farrel from Foodlink about hunger in the Rochester community. The Biomedical Engineering Society and Tau Beta Phi National Engineering Honor Society are hosting a toy drive for the Strong Children’s Hospital that will be running until December 12. Students can drop off new, unwrapped toys to Dottie Welch in Hopeman Hall room 206 or at the SEAS Dean’s office in Lattimore Hall room 306.

There are thousands of possibilities when it comes to donating your time and money to a good cause. Whatever interests or areas of concern appeal to you or the recipient of the gift there are charities that deal with that topic. This is the season for giving, and everyone can do his or her part ? even a broke college student can volunteer his time for a good cause. This holiday season make yourself feel good by doing good for others.

DeSantis can be reached at

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