4/24/2014 8:30:20 PM

The Season for Giving

Thursday, December 13, 2012

By Sarah Vistocco '13

For more than 15 years, Siena College’s Franciscan Giving Tree has helped local service agencies ensure that disadvantaged families in the Capital Region will celebrate a joyous and fulfilling Christmas.

“By keeping the Giving Tree alive, we’re keeping the Franciscan tradition alive,” said Katherine Marino ’13, Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy Event Coordinator.

According to Judy Dougherty, Associate Director of the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy, this year the Franciscan Giving Tree will provide hundreds of presents to local families through 24 service agencies in the Capital Region. The Giving Tree will help senior citizen and children’s agencies, homeless shelters and Catholic Charities organizations. Dougherty said it is the Francisan Center’s largest annual outreach initiative.

“This event allows the entire Siena community to come together and help those in need. It also gives students an opportunity to think about others, reflect and appreciate all that they have to be thankful for,” said Marino.

Dougherty said since mid-November, members of the Siena College community have taken tags from Giving Trees placed throughout campus. The tags describe specific presents, including food, clothing, personal care and household items and toys on people’s wish lists. Students, faculty, staff and administrators take the tags, purchase and wrap the gifts listed and leave the presents under the tree. The gifts are then given to the service agencies for distribution. Dougherty said campus offices and athletic teams also “adopt” families to support. More often than not, Dougherty said, Siena College is the only source of Christmas gifts for these neighbors in need.

“The Franciscan Giving Tree embraces concern for the poor and marginalized of society, so fundamental to the social teaching tradition of the Catholic Church, with that ‘personal touch’ so characteristic of the Franciscan Tradition,” said Fr. Russel Murray, O.F.M., Ph.D., director of the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy. “These are not “the poor.” They are sisters and brothers in need. In collaboration with our partner agencies, it is our privilege to serve them.”

Marino and fellow student leader and Amy Lynn Vanacore ’14 share a deep commitment to serving people in need. “People depend on us. If we don’t get our work done then that’s a child that’s not going to have that gift. It goes beyond our selfishness,” Marino said.

If you would like to donate to the Franciscan Giving Tree, contact Judy Dougherty via email at dougherty@siena.edu


Photo Credit: Sergio Sericolo and Sierra Zorn '14

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