Some area children will open Christmas packages who may otherwise not receive any gifts, thanks to the efforts of several Eastern Mennonite University students.
For the second year, EMU social work majors sponsored a project to buy gifts for a holiday drive coordinated by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Department of Social Services (DSS). The students raised more than $800 toward this year’s drive from EMU faculty, staff and fellow students.
The project benefits about 460 clients, most of them children of needy families.
DSS gave the students 24 clients’ first names and a Christmas wish list for each.
Social work majors Heather M. Hernley, Megan R. Yoder, Emiley F. Wagler, Sarah G. Yoder and Gabrielle S. (Gabby) Lewis spent more than four hours shopping, then returned to campus and spent an evening wrapping and labeling the gifts.
Jane Wenger Clemens, assistant professor of social work, and Gretchen Hostetter Maust, office coordinator, delivered the gifts to DSS on Dec. 7 for a Christmas party held Dec. 11.
“As social work students, we feel a connection to the community and wanted to respond to a local need,” said Heather M. Hernley, a senior from Luray, Va. “It felt good to support this project, and we were pleased with the response in financial gifts from the campus community.”