Local efforts provide holiday gifts

Local efforts provide holiday gifts
What began 18 years ago with three ESA Giving Trees at Hy-Vee, Jones' Food Center, and Pamida has expanded to eight trees located throughout the community. This year's Giving Trees were located at Jones' Food Center, Pamida, Hy-Vee, Nook 'n Cranny, Never Never Land, the Vermillion Public Library, Market Street Cafe and at USD's North Complex. This year the support and generosity of the Vermillion and university communities provided gifts for more than 200 of Vermillion's children through the Giving Tree project.

Each year the project has expanded through the generosity of new groups. Last year, Jason Larson of the Pressbox held his first annual "Ugly Sweater Contest." Larson then went shopping for toys with a portion of the contest profits. He provided the ESA trees with many of the gifts requested by the children and many fun items that served to provide gifts for children whose parents had requested only clothing for their children.

This year, Larson held the second annual "Ugly Sweater Contest." He went shopping again and purchased lots of toys for the children. He also provided many items for older children whose tags are selected by fewer people because the general public prefers to buy for little kids.

Larson's helpers were the men of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. These men also helped the women of Theta Omega Chapter of ESA cart, sort, and bag the gifts readying them for the families to pick up.

This year a new group gave the Giving Tree project a big boost. The data entry group at eTelecare held bake sales at the call center all year long raising more than $1,400. Then they, too, went shopping. They purchased a mountain of toys, games, electronic gadgets, etc., for the children of the Giving Tree. The morning the ESA members picked up the gifts from the call center, the group's excitement when they saw how much they had been able to do for the children of Vermillion was contagious.

The Theta Omega Chapter of ESA has, over the years, been humbled by the generosity of the people in our Vermillion community. Each and every year some group, some individual, or some event has made this project a very special one, one which inspires the group's admiration of and pride in the people of this community. The success of this project depends entirely upon the businesses, individuals, and groups who have supported it over the years.

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