Santa’s helpers

Branches of the trees are decorated with snowflakes, holiday flowers, ornaments and lights.

The Community Christmas program is a fundraiser that benefits over 2,000 children and families in the Weber, Davis and Box Elder County areas. Weber State University is taking part in this initiative by housing a “Giving Tree,” also known as a community Christmas tree.

The program is hosted by Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership with Ogden School District. The Community Christmas program is a nonprofit organization working to provide resources for the community and takes 900 people to put on the annual event.

Those willing to donate can locate a Giving Tree and pick a tag off of a branch. Each tag will contain information on what kind of gifts are acceptable donations and what necessities families would like during the holiday season.

The Community Christmas programs run throughout November and December until Christmas Day, so there is plenty of time for participants to contribute to their local community in need.

After the Giving Tree gifts have been collected, the organization hosts an event for families of the community to come, shop through the items donated and take home the gifts and other essentials they need for the holidays.

“Christmas can be a really depressing time for a lot of people, and I want to make it easier for someone who may not have as much as I do,” Collin Lumley, a WSU student, said. “Christmas is a time for giving, and if you’re in a good place to, I think it’s the perfect time to.”

Families in need who wish to be a part of the Community Christmas program should submit the proper registration form, and once they have their confirmation email, they are welcome to come. This process helps avoid abuse of the event and ensures plenty to go around for everyone.

Tammy McBride, event coordinator for Community Christmas, explains that during the registration process for the event, parents are required to watch training material provided by OWCAP that offers financial literacy advice and various resources available to families that participate in this event.

“I enjoy the opportunity to help families in our community be able to experience the magic of Christmas,” McBride said. “I love Christmas, and I want families all over to be able to experience that.”

For the little ones at home, Christmas is a very special time of the year. While the parents take care of the shopping, Community Christmas makes sure to never forget about the kids.

“We do have a carnival for the kids,”McBride said. “We try to provide a fun Christmas experience for them. So the carnival is upstairs for the children while the parents are shopping.”

For their program to be successful, they rely on businesses to host the Giving Trees in many locations across Northern Utah. WSU’s Giving Tree is in the Shepherd Union atrium. There are currently 90 different trees located across northern Utah.

“As a university, we have an integral role in our community, and we should use our resources for good,” Lumley said.

Lumley also said he had never participated in a Giving Tree before, but looks forward to helping out this holiday season.