Time to give thanks, give back

Now in its sixth year, the Give Thanks Give Back campaign at Washington University again will strive to make the holiday season a bit merrier for some needy St. Louis families.

Give Thanks Give Back supports a group called “100 Need-iest Cases,” a joint project of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the United Way. The 100 Neediest Cases identifies more than 10,000 cases of St. Louis-area residents struggling to overcome poverty during the holiday season.

Although each of the 10,000 cases will receive some assistance, only a small percentage of families are “adopted,” meaning that an individual or group agrees to buy gifts, clothing, household appliances or other requested items for the family.

WUSTL normally adopts around 120 families each year, which amounts to more than 300 individuals.

“Most of the people we adopt are hard-working but have been temporarily set back by a layoff or injury and are having trouble feeding their kids and clothing them for the winter,” said junior Lynn Wilkie, co-chair of this year’s Give Thanks Give Back student group.

“We help them get back on their feet by tapping into the generosity of the University community,” Wilkie said.

University groups or individuals can begin adopting families now. Gifts are due by Nov. 14, and there are gift-wrapping parties scheduled for Nov. 15 and 22 in Umrath Lounge.

The program has a history of success at the University. The Office of Student Activities first became involved in the program in 1998, when staff members adopted a single family. By 2001, the effort had evolved into a campus-wide program called Give Thanks Give Back.

For more information, e-mail gtgb@sugroups.wustl.edu or visit sugroups.wustl.edu/~gtgb.