The Santa Bus 

Residential Life staff and students collected more than $4,500 worth of clothes, toys and electronics from six residential living areas for Northern Rivers. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 10, 2019) – UAlbany’s impact on the community is far reaching during the holidays, with more than 20 giving opportunities available.

Some are led by students, others by faculty and staff. Together, these various collections and volunteer efforts represent a great investment in the well-being of children and families across the Capital Region, as well as in keeping the campus food pantry stocked.

The massive giving power of UAlbany students and staff was demonstrated by last Friday’s Santa Bus, which delivered holiday gifts for children served by Northern Rivers Family of Services in Albany. Northern Rivers is working to collect 6,000 gifts for 1,400 children served by Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center. This is the 10th year UAlbany has contributed to the drive.

Jameelee Ford, UAlbany’s assistant director for Community Development and Programming in Residential Life, said, “Over $4,500 worth of clothes, toys and electronics were donated from all six residential living areas. Resident assistants, community assistants and housing managers participated by either donating or hosting a program to raise funds for Northern Rivers. It was so great to see all of the toys and clothes that our student body donated.”

Another major effort is the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Drive. On Saturday, Toys for Tots vans and two semi-trucks full of toys stopped at UAlbany to deliver toys to children. 

“We’re as close to Santa’s elves as is humanly possible,” said Scott Dilcher, a dispatcher and communications and security specialist for UPD who is coordinating the Toys for Tots drive on the Uptown Campus.

Dilcher and another UPD officer later escorted the caravan of about 14 vehicles to Binghamton University, the next destination.

In part because of UAlbany’s contributions, last year the local Toys for Tots organization in Albany County was the number one Toys for Tots in the nation, distributing more than 230,000 toys, Dilcher said.

Toys will continue to be collected for Toys for Tots through Thursday at three Uptown Campus locations: University Hall, the UAlbany Police Station, and the Human Resources office in UAB. On the Downtown Campus, toys can be donated near the UPD station in the entrance to Husted Hall.        

On the Health Sciences Campus in Rensselaer, the School of Public Health recently completed its own, separate 19th Annual Toys for Tots drive. The drive was spearheaded by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Other opportunities to give

Also on the Downtown Campus, there is a Warm Winter Wishes Toy & Clothing Drive, collecting new and unwrapped toys for children, newborn to age 15, and warm gloves, hats and scarves for adults and children through Thursday of this week. 

The Purple Pantry, UAlbany’s on campus food pantry, is accepting donations in CC 137 on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m. Non-perishable food items and paper products such as toilet paper, tissue, and paper towels are needed.


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