As the holidays are approaching, the Volunteer Programs and Service Learning (VPSL) organization, along with Kappa Delta and Kappa Sigma, are showing their support for families in need by fundraising for food and gifts for families and children this holiday season through their annual Adopt-A-Family.
Every year, VPSL works with two churches in the Bridgeport community to fulfill holiday wish lists of families within the community who are in need. This year, the organization has adopted 50 families, which means they will be donating food and gifts to 50 families in need.
Arlete Perez, Assistant Director of Office of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning, said her goal is for all adopted families to be accounted for so that every member of every family can receive presents accompanied by a Christmas dinner.
“We are the neighbors. Bridgeport is five minutes away from our campus, and that’s a community in a lot of need,” said Perez.
Kappa Sigma and Kappa Delta joined VPSL’s fundraising efforts by holding table times in the Main Academic building from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 with members from both organizations collecting donations at the designated table. The Greek Life organizations adopted two families, each of which have three children.
Cara Grill, a senior at Sacred Heart and member of Kappa Delta Sorority who is assisting in Adopt-A-Family, said, “Throughout the year, we fundraise for our philanthropies and are very passionate about the missions of each of our philanthropies. It is important to take this passion for our philanthropy to other charities, especially local ones, because they are in our community.”
Grill further mentioned that she hopes the members of Kappa Delta can understand how impactful and meaningful these community service efforts are, even if the philanthropic efforts are not for their own organization’s philanthropy.
“It is important to donate during the holiday season because some families are not able to focus on the holiday season when they are just trying to make ends meet. Everyone deserves to enjoy the holiday season and not have to stress about buying their children gifts when they are struggling to pay other bills,” said Grill.
Anthony Matos, a junior at Sacred Heart and Recruitment Chair of Kappa Sigma Fraternity who is also an assisting member of Adopt-A-Family, said that on their second day of table times, they raised almost $1,000. Matos mentioned that during this time of year he, along with others, has been fortunate enough to submit Christmas lists, and often gets more than what’s on the list.
Matos hopes his fraternity members can gain a sense of gratitude and appreciation through this volunteer service program.
SHU junior Katie Hassel, President of Kappa Delta and assisting member of the fundraising table times, said that it is most rewarding to know that both organizations can give six children Christmas gifts, whose families could not afford to do so alone.
“At table times, I was able to see the passion both organizations had to raise this money. Knowing we left a mark and were able to change the outcome of two families’ Christmases was truly special,” said Hassel.
All Christmas wish lists for the 50 adopted families are due to be fulfilled by the adoptees by Dec. 9.