Hampton University


HU students give back for Thanksgiving and Christmas

The Hampton University junior class gave a local family a boost this Thanksgiving, and will also help another family this Christmas. Class President Christian Cheairs said each year a class makes an effort to adopt a family during the holidays.

Cheairs is collecting items for a deserving family for Christmas. “We’re trying to accumulate 20 gifts for one family,” he said. “As a class, we try to make it a tradition.”

Ham, a gallon of milk, eggs, Hawaiian Punch and a $30 Wal-Mart card were among the basket items students presented to a Newport News mother and her children four days before Thanksgiving. The recipient’s name was taken from a local social service listing.

“She was thankful,” said Miss Junior Eunice Collier, who helped select the family along with HU Miss Junior Class Attendant Jacqueline Flowers. “But, it wasn’t about that. It was very humbling and made me more appreciative for what I have. It was an experience that made you feel good about yourself.”

Because of a stingy and unforgiving economy this holiday, more families are susceptible to charity. In addition, constrained budgets and financial anxiety about the future has also created angst this season. A November CNN.com news article reported the National Retail Federation’s prediction that 2008 holiday spending will rise just 2.2 percent, the smallest gain in six years.

What has steadily gained throughout the year, however, are energy and food costs. Record numbers of all age and income groups intend to reduce spending, reports say.

Consequently, in her petition for givers, Miss Hampton University Shannon Cooper is asking students to be mindful yet modest. Cooper and her royal court are preparing a toy drive for Progressive Life Worship Center in Hampton, Va. Flyers were posted in the Student Center to announce the drive, and a box placed in the student activities office for donations.

“We’re not asking for $50 or $60 dollar Christmas gifts,” she said. “Just whatever (students) have.”

-Leha Byrd