Mount St. Joseph University

The Season(s) of Giving

Dateline: student newspaper


File Under: campus ministry, christmas, giving

November is a strange month—it’s not quite winter, and by many standards it’s too early to obsess over Christmas. Still, Christmas Season preparations dominate the month of November for better or worse.

At the risk of playing into the hype, Dateline has decided to bring you the information you might want to know before you leave for Thanksgiving Break—including the Mount’s preparations for Christmas.

The Giving Tree is a Christmas staple in many churches and schools across the country, but the Mount’s Coordinator of Campus Ministry Michael Casciato says it’s especially important this year.

The Anderson Ferry Food Pantry will be the beneficiary of the Mount’s Giving Tree this year. They expect between 400 and 700 children from the surrounding community to be signed up for gifts through the “Toys for Tots” program.

As Casciato puts it, the number of children in need is “staggering for our area.”

Local food pantries have been struggling to keep up with the requests for food, which is a sad and poignant indicator of the need in our communities. It stands to reason that families in need of food will have a difficult time providing Christmas presents for their children.

The ornaments that adorn the Giving Tree are far more than red and green pieces of paper with an age, gender and gift suggestion. One is a child who can’t understand monetary hardships and just wants a toy to play with. One is a struggling mother who has to choose between a roof over her children’s heads and presents under the tree. One is a teenage girl who only puts clothes on her Christmas wish-list. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of this season. It’s easy to focus only on the people in your world when purchasing the perfect gifts. It’s easy, but it’s just not the Mount way.

Watch for future emails and messages from Casciato for dates, which weren’t yet available at the time of publication.

If you’re offended by the lack of attention we’ve given Thanksgiving, please forgive us. Maybe the best way to combat the shortage of, well, thanksgiving during the month of November is to pick up a few extra items at the grocery store and drop them off at your nearest food pantry. Someone will certainly be thankful, and it might put you in the right frame of mind to count your blessings.

After all, Christmas doesn’t have to be the only season of giving.