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UHV Giving Tree event to collect items for nonprofit groups

UHV mascot jaX the jaguar helps decorate the 2013 Giving Tree. UHV Student Government Association hosts the Giving Tree every year to provide supplies to local charities.

The University of Houston-Victoria’s Student Government Association is once again ready to spread holiday spirit through the Giving Tree.

The annual event brings in donations of supplies for a variety of Victoria nonprofit groups. This year, the Giving Tree, which begins on Monday, will benefit five charities: Adopt-A-Pet, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Mid-Coast Family Services, the Old Landmark Committee and Victoria Trap-Neuter-Return.

Bola Adebayo

“It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community and help those in need,” said Bola Adebayo, president of the Student Government Association and a junior biology major. “The SGA is always looking for ways to help out others, and this is a great tradition that we want to continue.”

The Giving Tree will kick off at 11 a.m. Monday with a tree decorating event in the UHV University Center foyer, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Hot chocolate will be available, and the event is free and open to the community.

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. 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. Victoria TNR is an organization dedicated to improving the health and living conditions of homeless cats through trapping, neutering or spaying, and returning them to volunteer caretakers.

“We hope to have the leaders of the organizations there to offer more information in person,” Adebayo said. “The Victoria community has the opportunity to contribute to these organizations, and UHV students have a chance to connect with and get more involved in the community.”

Michelle Looza

Donations needed include canned food, clothing items, pet food, cat litter, toys and toiletries. A full list of items needed by each nonprofit will be available at the tree decorating event. It also can be found online on the UHV Special Events page and the SGA website, www.uhv.edu/student-government-association/, on Monday. Donated items can be placed under the tree. The Giving Tree does not accept cash donations.

“We like for people to donate items that the organizations can use right away,” said Michelle Looza, SGA vice president and a senior psychology major. “It’s giving back to the community and helping those who are less fortunate, including animals in a shelter.”

Last year’s event saw many donations of pet toys, baby clothes, toys for children and cat food, Looza said. This year, the organizations will be accepting donations to the Giving Tree until Dec. 12.

For more information about the Giving Tree, call the Student Government Association at 361-485-4495.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations 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 a teaching center in Katy, 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.