Children's Campus spreads holiday cheer with toy drive

‘Tis the season for finals and tuition payments as the holiday season begins and the end of the year draws near.

As students, faculty and staff prepare to close the semester, holiday spirit is emerging all over SF State. The Children’s Campus is getting in the spirit of the season and recently teamed up with Toys For Tots and the San Francisco Fire Department to collect toys for kids this year.

“We think the toy drive is important as it embodies what we feel is the true spirit of the holiday season, which is giving to others,” Kelly Dotson, program manager for the Children’s Campus, said. “As a high quality child care center, we like to provide opportunities for the children, families and staff to connect with the greater community in a positive way.”

This is the first year that the Children’s Campus has put on the drive. The center hosted a two-week book sale in 2010 and 2011. In order to promote the spirit of giving, it decided to host the toy drive instead, according to Dotson.

“After receiving some pertinent family feedback (about the book sale) we decided the spirit we wanted to embody was giving not ‘getting,’ and having a store in the lobby for two weeks wasn’t ideal particularly at this time of year,” Dotson said.

Also in the spirit of the season, University President Leslie E. Wong and his wife will host a holiday reception Dec. 13. The festivities are scheduled to take place at the Seven Hills Conference Center.

“Mrs. Wong and I are pleased to continue the SF State tradition of getting together with faculty and staff during the holiday season,” Wong said. “It’s a good time to get to know one another better, and for the president’s office to thank employees for their work throughout the year.”

The Children’s Center toy drive has received donations such as a toddler matching game and board game as of Nov. 27, according to Dotson.

“Yes, the spirit of the holiday season isn’t just about opening presents, but who doesn’t remember that amazing feeling when you walk into the room and see shiny wrapped gifts just waiting to be opened?” Dotson said. “We encourage the campus community to help make someone’s holiday that much more special by remembering the child inside of them.”

Leann Armbrust is a senior civil engineering major and previously participated in Toys For Tots drives in her local community of Antioch.

“It’s the season for giving,” Armbrust, 23, said. “It makes me feel good giving to others.”

The Children’s Campus is looking to make the drive an annual holiday campus event, but it depends on the turnout.

“I hope we make this an annual event,” Dotson said. “If participation meets our expectations, you can expect to see it again next year and for many years after.”

The center will accept donations and unwrapped toys through Dec. 14.