Sara Zeitler, vice dean for records, registration and financial aid in the School of Law, sets up the gifts donated by faculty and staff at the law school.
Tess Morrissey (left), director of the Office of Community Relations, presents a gift to Courtney Wood.
Published December 21, 2018
Forty-seven families in need are having a merrier holiday season, thanks to UB’s Adopt-A-Family program.
The Office of Community Relations starts coordinating the university-wide holiday program in mid-October. Over the course of the next few weeks, the office solicits the names of families in need from such community partners as Say Yes to Education and the University District Community Development Association.
The families are then paired with departments and units at UB that have volunteered to sponsor a family for the holiday season. Once matched, departments are provided with wish lists from their family, as well the ages and genders of family members, to guide them in their holiday shopping. Gifts include children’s toys, warm winter clothes and needed household items.
“It’s a way for the university to give back to the community,” said Tess Morrissey, director of community relations. “Many of the departments spend a lot of time wrapping presents and coordinating gifts. It’s a nice way to share the holiday spirit with people who may not have much.”
Wilbert Green, East Zone leader for Say Yes to Education, said his staff worked with the Buffalo Public Schools and UB’s Office of Community Relations to identify and support needy families on Buffalo’s East Side.
“We work with many families who simply do not have the resources to provide gifts to their loved ones during the holiday season,” Green said. “This effort (with UB) not only exemplifies the spirit of the holiday season, but also the spirit of collaboration between community partners.
“As much as our families appreciate the support, so do we appreciate the willingness of members of the community coming together to make this holiday season that much more meaningful.”
This year’s Adopt-A-Family initiative culminated with a holiday party on Wednesday in the Emeritus Center in Goodyear Hall on the South Campus, where families met representatives from their sponsoring departments and picked up their gifts.
In addition to the wrapped gifts, this year the School of Dental Medicine donated dental care kits for the children in each family, along with information about the school’s “Give Kids a Smile Day” of free dental care.
And the Office of Graduate Medical Education, participating in Adopt-A-Family for the first time, secured a large donation of furniture, as well as two children's bikes and a large dollhouse, for its family, according to Community Relations staff.