UHV student government’s Giving Tree to provide donations to six charities

Andy Llanes, University of Houston-Victoria Student Government Association 2012-2013 director of external affairs, hangs an ornament on last year’s Giving Tree. Student government leaders are holding this year’s Giving Tree holiday charity drive from Tuesday to Dec. 13.

University of Houston-Victoria Student Government Association members are once again getting into the spirit of the season by setting up a donation drive for area families and animals.

UHV Student Government Association members will host the 11th annual Giving Tree, a holiday charity drive supporting six local charities. Community members are invited to leave toys, canned food, clothing and other items under the Giving Tree from Tuesday to Dec. 13 in the foyer of the UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

“This event allows UHV to give back to the community and allows families who aren’t as fortunate to receive items they need during the holidays,” said Moses Olukoya, UHV Student Government Association president. “It’s important to the Student Government Association that every family in the Crossroads area has a happy holiday season.”

The collected donations will be given to:

  • Adopt-A-Pet
  • Food Bank of the Golden Crescent
  • HOSTS (Help One Student to Succeed)
  • Mid-Coast Family Services
  • Old Landmark Committee of Victoria.
  • Totes of Love

Each year, student government members choose area charities to benefit from the Giving Tree, solicit donations and make arrangements to deliver the supplies once the campaign concludes.

“It’s great that we have community members drop by to put items under the tree,” Olukoya said. “The Giving Tree allows us to connect with the community and bring people together.”

Adopt-A-Pet is a local animal rescue, rehabilitation and adoption service. The Food Bank of the Golden Crescent collects food for the needy, elderly and sick. HOSTS is a mentoring and tutoring program managed by the Victoria Independent School District. Mid-Coast Family Services works to eliminate family violence, homelessness and substance abuse. The Old Landmark Committee helps take care of children and the needy, and organizes community celebrations such as Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month. Totes of Love delivers tote bags of clothes, hygiene products and other supplies to homeless and low-income families.

Olukoya said a number of students have volunteered with Totes of Loves in its first year of operation.

“Since students are already active in the organization, it made a lot of sense to add them as a charitable recipient,” Olukoya said.

To kick off the Giving Tree, the Student Government Association invites university employees and students to decorate the tree at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the University Center foyer. Light refreshments will be served.

Representatives from several of the organizations will attend. Students interested in learning more about the charities or how to volunteer with them are encouraged to come, Olukoya said.

A list of needed items will be distributed during the decorating event and posted on the UHV website next week.

For more information about the Giving Tree, call the Student Government Association at 361-485-4561.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro