In an effort to give back to the community, several University of Maine groups are leading charitable efforts for local individuals and organizations throughout the holiday season.

The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism is collecting gifts for the Holiday Sharing Program, which serves more than 1,000 children in the local community. The program is a partnership between the center, Crossroads Ministries Food Pantry, Toys for Tots, Orono-Old Town Kiwanis, Orono Health Association and many student and staff groups on campus.

Gifts can be dropped off at the Bodwell Center, 311 Memorial Union, or at Crossroads Ministries, 2 Wood St. in Old Town. The deadline for gift donations is Dec. 11.

The Holiday Sharing Program began in 2004 as a partnership between the Bodwell Center and Crossroads Ministries. Each year, Crossroads contacts families in need while the Bodwell Center works to encourage campus and community organizations, as well as local businesses to collect gifts and spread awareness of the program. In 2014, the program helped more than 1,100 children in the Orono-Old Town area.

For more information about the program, call Jennifer Aldrich, community engagement coordinator at the Bodwell Center, at 581.3097.

The Classified Employees Advisory Council (CEAC) and Professional Employees Advisory Council (PEAC) will collect nonperishable food items and monetary donations for the Black Bear Exchange at the UMaine Employee Holiday Luncheon on Dec. 14 in Wells.

During last year’s event, the CEAC raised 277 pounds of food and $52. The groups hope to raise even more this year and are grateful for all of the community support.

In addition, the CEAC will continue to accept donations throughout the holiday season. Donation boxes have been placed at several locations around campus including Alumni Hall, rooms 201, 213, 218, 229 and the Bursar’s Office on the first floor; 101 North Stevens Hall; and Fogler Library.

Several UMaine fraternities and sororities also are getting involved by holding toy, clothing and food drives.

Alpha Tau Omega will host its annual Blue and Gold Christmas, a competition-based philanthropy event that collects clothes, books, nonperishable food and monetary donations for Crossroads Ministries. Teams from Greek Life and other student organizations will be given a tree to decorate, along with a donation box. Teams score points for donations and tree decorations. The trees, which will be on display in the Memorial Union from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, will be judged by university officials. The philanthropy will also feature events in the community.

Pi Beta Phi and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) will host the annual Pi Phi/FIJI Christmas event from 4–6 p.m. Dec. 11 at the FIJI fraternity house, 79 College Ave. Donations for the Bodwell Center and Crossroads Ministries will be collected during the Christmas-themed reception.


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