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JALC Students Conclude Angel Tree Project

JALC Student Senate member Ty Nance of Carterville and Adrienne Barkley Giffin, Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events, showcase donated Christmas presents that are to be distributed to 166 children in Southern Illinois thanks to the generosity of Logan students, employees and the general public. (Logan Media Services photo)

JALC Student Senate member Ty Nance of Carterville and Adrienne Barkley Giffin, Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events, showcase donated Christmas presents that are to be distributed to 166 children in Southern Illinois thanks to the generosity of Logan students, employees and the general public. (Logan Media Services photo)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Another Angel Tree project coordinated by the Student Senate at John A. Logan College is in the books. And thanks to the generosity of students, college employees and the general public, 300 children in Southern Illinois will enjoy a brighter Christmas.

Adrienne Barkley Giffin, Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events at Logan, said representatives with the Neighbor to Neighbor and Adolescent Health Center agencies in Williamson and Jackson counties collected the donated gifts Friday at the college that will be distributed to 166 children.

And then today (Monday), Barkley and Student Senate members spent $4,800 in donated cash to purchase gifts for another 134 children in the region for a total of 300 children served.

“That comes out to about $36 per child,” Barkley Giffin said. “Of course, we’d always like to do more, but every little bit helps.”

Barkley Giffin said the project touches lives in ways more than one can imagine.

“Just last week, we had a Logan student and three of her best friends, who are attending other colleges, decide they would pool their money, and instead of spending it on each other for gifts, would adopt a little girl from the Angel Tree and got everything on her list. They then bought the gifts together and wrapped them together. That was really sweet.”

Barkley Giffin said students have bills to pay, including tuition, books and fees, yet still think of others who are less fortunate.

“Even during Finals Week…to take the time to participate in Angel Tree..is special.”

There was another instance of a woman who recently attended the Holiday Hop musical on campus and picked a child’s name from the Angel Tree.

“She said the Angel Tree is a blessing to her because she and her husband lost their daughter last spring and this was a way for them to take the time and money they were going to spend on their daughter for Christmas and apply it to this other child. It helps them deal with their grief during this holiday season.”

Barkley Giffin said some JALC employees help teach their own children about the joy of giving through projects like Angel Tree.

“It’s a way of teaching young people about a need in the communities in which they live,” she said. “It’s really amazing the response their children have, too. I know of one child who saved all of her allowance money throughout the year to spend on another child. Children are very generous. And so are our Logan employees. A lot of people have stopped me in the hall the last few weeks and asked me how they can help. It’s something fun for them to do. I also want to stress that this project is not just about the gifts. It’s about letting these kids know that they are worthwhile and are cared about.”