Letter to the Editor

Giving is greater than receiving

Monday, October 4, 2010

Four years ago I watched my boys tear into their presents on Christmas morning. At a time when a mother should feel nothing but joy, I was sad. I knew that at that very moment a child was walking into his or her living room expecting to find presents and seeing nothing.

I am a professor in the Communication Studies Department at Southeast Missouri State University, and with the help of my students, Student Santas has helped close to 5,000 children. Student Santas provides toys, clothing, and food for children and families who would otherwise get nothing at all on Christmas.

A visit to a local home last year saddened me. Three little children lived there without a single toy. There was no furniture in the house, only two small chairs. The floor was covered in blankets for the children to sleep. Because they had no money for clothes, the little ones were wearing shorts and T-shirts -- no socks or shoes. The temperature outside was 40 degrees.

The second annual Sweatin' With Santa 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Oct. 9, in Jackson will serve as a fundraiser and public awareness event for Student Santas. All proceeds go to benefit families in Southeast Missouri.

Jack "The Ripper" Clark from the St. Louis Cardinals will be on hand to take pictures and sign autographs. There will also be booths setup by McDonald's, Jimmy John's and others.

If anyone would like more information about Student Santas, please contact me at jgast@semo.edu.

Giving is so much greater than receiving.

JENNIFER ICAZA-GAST, Student Santas, Founder and CEO, Jackson