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Annual Giving Tree brings joy to local children

By Erika Neldner

Seventeen children will have gifts under the tree this Christmas, thanks to the giving hearts of the Reinhardt Community.

Jon Costales and Dottie Townsend, from R.M. Moore Elementary School, picked up two carloads of gifts Wednesday morning that will be delivered to families in need right here in Waleska.

“The relationships that Reinhardt University continues to build with our local families fosters inclusion, trust, and encourages academic success, makes our school a better environment for learning and our community a better place to live,” said Costales, a counselor at the school. “Our students know and respect Reinhardt as an establishment of higher learning, a historical testament to the possibilities that higher education can provide and the attainability of a better future. We are so proud and lucky to have Reinhardt University as a partner in education.”

Janna Moore, the University’s coordinator of development services & stewardship, organized the effort and said seven families, including 17 children, were served from RU’s Giving Tree this year. Everyone from faculty, staff and students, to the U.S. Postal workers from the Waleska Post Office participated.

One student in particular said she came early this year to get tags, because by the time she made it to Support Services last year, all of the tags were gone. She chose two children at R.M. Moore who needed warm clothes primarily but also wanted a couple of toys.

“I picked four tags so I could get warm clothing and toys for these children,” sophomore psychology major Rebecca Braswell said, adding she encourages all Reinhardt students to take part in efforts like these to help in the community. “It’s so humbling yet so gratifying knowing we can help out.”

The space beneath the Christmas tree in President Kina Mallard’s office filled up quickly, as those participating as a Giving Tree giver delivered their items. When Costales and Townsend arrived Wednesday morning, they found gifts wrapped to perfection and organized by family for ease of delivery. And one by one, R.M. Moore and Reinhardt staff bagged the items and loaded them in the truck. The gifts are being delivered to the families in time to get them under the Christmas tree.

Tim Norton, vice president for advancement and marketing and whose department leads the Giving Tree effort, said it’s an honor for Reinhardt’s family to make Christmas a little bit more special to families right here in its own community.

“Reinhardt University is proud to partner with those in our community doing great work. For many years Reinhardt has supported R.M. Moore Elementary School’s Angel Tree gift initiative, and we are particularly grateful for our faculty, staff and students – and our friends at the Waleska Post Office -- who are making Christmas a little brighter this year with gifts for seven families,” Norton said.

“For years Reinhardt University has supported our families by not only offering help with our Christmas program which provides gifts for needy children, but also by providing student teachers who work alongside of our teachers in the classroom," Costales added. "Reinhardt student-athletes have volunteered to help us with our fall festival and assist our P.E. teacher with lessons which gives our children positive role models to look up to from our local community." 

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Reinhardt staff member Janna Moore is pictured with Dottie Townsend and Jon Costales of R.M. Moore Elementary School as they collected the gifts collected at the University for R.M. Moore students and their families.

 

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The Christmas Tree in the President’s Office at Reinhardt University was the collection site for Giving Tree donations. Those who participated were able to choose a child or children by first name, age and gift ideas to provide presents for this Christmas.

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