The holidays are around the corner and there are boxes scattered around the Student Center to collect canned foods for those individuals who are less fortunate.
Homeless shelters have long lists of volunteers willing to dish out holiday dinners.
Malls are decorated and packed prematurely with gift-giving shoppers.
Where do we fit into this picture? Many of us students will use the excuse of living in the dorms to avoid the guilt of not donating canned goods.
We will plead that our only opportunity to go home and see our families is during the holidays so we cannot participate at shelters.
And everyone knows college students are dirt poor, living from paycheck to paycheck on peanut butter and crackers and jellybeans and popcorn so we certainly will not be roaming the malls in search of the perfect gift for the adopt-a-child program.
But, truth being told and excuses put aside, there are other opportunities for college students to get involved in to help aide the less fortunate.
We can donate money to causes, volunteer our time or contribute used items for those persons who live in the absence of them.
Sometimes we lack enthusiasm to help, but by donating items we no longer cherish, we can do a lot more than we think.
Many of us have drawers and closets full of clothing that has gone out of style or that we think we might fit into again someday. In taking the time to clean out your closet, these items could go to families who do not have this reality.
Children who are happy just to have a warm dinner on Thanksgiving can put to good use the items that we stash away until they are so old that they are new again.
During the gift-giving season, my family has upheld a tradition that we like to think benefits more than the gift giver and receiver.
Having a rather large family, we decided that instead of everyone buying for everyone, that it would be a better idea if each person drew the name of another’s each year.
On Christmas Day, we all join together for a Christmas dinner and exchange gifts.
Instead of unwrapping material items, each gift reveals the name of a charity in which money was donated in the relative’s name.
It is a truly rewarding way of celebrating a spiritual holiday that really represents more than the collection of wanted items, but instead emphasizes the strength of helping humanity.
Holidays bring out the good in many, but poverty stricken individuals crave attention and help during the off season too.
Projects like Habitat for Humanity present opportunities to volunteer time and talent for the better good of a family.
Hospitals encourage citizens to spend time with their sick and elderly patients and make greeting cards and get well cards.
Elementary schools welcome teacher’s aides to assist in one of the most important causes in the world, the education of our youth.
There are endless occasions to help others. Many of them are right within reach. You need not be rich, have a lot of time or be directly involved, but humanity is a very valuable resource and people can influence the resulting livelihood of strangers and neighbors alike.
Stacey Mleczko, a junior journalism major, is features editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.