BINGHAMTON, NY – Every year, Binghamton University’s students, faculty and staff host numerous holiday drives to give back to the community and those in need. There are a number of programs scheduled for the coming weeks to give everyone in the Binghamton area the opportunity to feel the holiday spirit.  

Hand to Heart Holiday Project
9 a.m., Monday, December 10, in the Rafuse Hall Lounge, Dickinson Community
The Hand to Heart Holiday Project, an annual holiday drive organized by Residential Life and the National Residence Hall Honorary, allows students to donate gifts to children this holiday season. All gifts should be brought by Monday, Dec. 10, to the Residential Life central office in the Tuscarora Office Building in College in the Woods, room 213. This year alone, the Salvation Army received 1,130 requests for gift bags to be donated to families in need. Campus residents exceeded their expectations with a total number of 1,636 students signed up to donate. Ashley Ragusa, Binghamton University student and treasurer of the National Residence Hall Honorary, said the program challenges students to become more engaged in the community rather than the campus.  “What some may see as a small gesture can greatly impact not only a community, but the life of a single child,” Ragusa said. “Everyone deserves to have a wish come true during the holiday season!” The gifts will be delivered to the Wyoming Conference Children’s Home and the local Salvation Army. 

Chanukah Toy Drive
6 p.m., Monday, December 10 in the Mandela Room, University Union
This Chanukah, students plan to light up hundreds of lives through the Binghamton University Chanukah Toy Drive. All toys will be delivered to children suffering from cancer. Individuals can contribute by visiting http://www.JewishBu.com/ToyDrive.

To promote this year’s toy drive, over 700 students will be simultaneously spinning dreidels, in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records, for “most dreidels spinning simultaneously.”        

Operation SAnta
11 a.m., Wednesday, December 12, in the Old Union Hall, University Union
The 23rd annual Student Association Holiday Drive, “Operation SAnta,” is a program that provides offices and organizations with the opportunity to sponsor a family in need. Sponsors are asked to state how many family members they are able to buy gifts for, and the program works to match them up from a list put together by the Binghamton City School District. “They get to go out and buy gifts for the families and wrap them, which is fun for everyone involved,” said Francesca Lucia, a student involved with Operation SAnta. “They bring their gifts to our Operation SAnta celebration in December, where they get to meet with members of the Binghamton School District.” The gifts are then delivered to the families directly through the schools, Lucia said. “Last year we had a pretty large turnout,” Lucia said. “We are hoping to match or exceed that this year.” 

CHOW Drive
Every year, the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) hosts its Holiday CHOW Food Drive to feed the hungry in Broome County. This program, which collects non-perishable food items around campus, donates to over 30 food pantries and 35 soup kitchens in the area. Food barrels will be placed around the Binghamton University campus over the course of the next few weeks so that CHOW can collect enough to stock their shelves. 

Toys for Tots Campaign
Recently, Binghamton University's Physical Facilities department presented a check for more than $5,000, along with dozens of toys, to the Toys for Tots campaign. Each year employees hold a number of fund-raising efforts throughout the year, including the annual John Mangino golf tournament. Due to the dedicated efforts of Physical Facilities employees, Binghamton University has become a key contributor to the annual Toys for Tots campaign.