December 20, 2023

Schoolcraft College provides holiday gifts to those in need

person organizing tables of products

Schoolcraft College students, faculty and staff recently packaged and delivered more than 85 gifts to those in a local shelter.

Santa Claus is the one best known for delivering presents during the holidays. But that’s not stopping students, faculty and staff from Schoolcraft College from getting in on the giving.

Several students and faculty members helped gather and package up items for the holidays earlier this month to donate to residents of the Samaritas Family Center in Westland. Items collected during the drive, entitled Project Share Joy, were bagged up by Honors Scholars and English students in the Student Activities space in the lower level of the Vistatech Center and loaded on a truck to deliver to dozens of residents at the shelter in time for the holidays.

The drive, organized for years by English faculty member Dr. Anna Maheshwari, is a passion project for her.

“It brings us so much joy to watch children get these gifts and the thanks we get from the shelter,” she said. “These children would not get a Christmas gift had it not been for us adopting them. It makes it our obligation to give back.”

Donations of items such as dolls, Lego sets, toiletries and more were all bagged up in homemade pillowcases and gift bags and loaded onto the Student Activities truck, where they were delivered to those residing in the shelter. Items were donated from students, administrators, faculty and community members. Toys for Tots also provided some of the toys as well. More than 85 gifts were delivered.

Large group pose for photo inside an open truck
Students, faculty and staff collected more than 85 gifts to donate to the Samaritas Family Center in Westland for the holidays.

Yan Li, a student who is also the vice president of leadership for the Omicron Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, said helping to organize and package the gifts to families in need is a worthwhile endeavor to give back to the community.

“You just can’t help but want to help,” he said. “I just can’t wait to see the joy when they get delivered to them.”

In addition to the donations to the shelter, the remaining items will be donated to other groups, including some that will stop by campus to pick up items, as well as foster homes in communities such as Livonia and Redford Township.

“We have built up relationships with other community organizations over the years and will be providing any extra toys left over from the Toys for Tots distribution by Friday this week,” said Todd Stowell, director of the Student Activities Office.

Maheshwari said she plans on continuing the drive each year, even after her eventual retirement. Coming from humble beginnings, she said, helps her stay motivated to help others.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t have much and now to be able to do this for children who are probably going to remember these small gifts for the rest of their lives I know they will pay it forward,” she said.

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