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Turkeys, Toys and Military Care Packages: Drexel Continues Holiday Charity Drive Traditions in 2017

December 18, 2017

Santa Claus and Office of Government and Community Relations Senior Vice President Brian Keech met with a very excited member of the community at the Dec. 11 toy distribution ceremony.
Santa Claus and Office of Government and Community Relations Senior Vice President Brian Keech met with a very excited member of the community at a Dec. 11 toy distribution ceremony.

‘Tis the season for charitable giving at Drexel University. In December, the University held several charity drives to spread holiday cheer to active military stationed overseas as well as children and family located a little bit closer in the neighboring communities. 

Turkeys were given out for holiday dinners, toys were collected and distributed — by Santa! — in big red bags, and packages filled with everyday necessities were shipped abroad, all thanks to the big hearts and volunteer efforts of Drexel Dragons.

Here’s what happened on campus:

Military Care Package Drive

Drexel hosted its ninth annual Military Care Package Drive on Dec. 7, boxing up 30 packages to send out to military members overseas. This year, the packages stuffed with books, socks, supplies and handwritten notes will be sent to a group that includes family of Enrollment Management and Student Success staff members. The event was sponsored by the Drexel Veterans Task Force and the Office of Veteran Student Services.

“Traditions like this are important because they bring people on campus together to contribute to Drexel’s goal of being the nation’s most civically engaged university,” said Rebecca Weidensaul, PhD, assistant vice president of Student Life. “Supporting our military community overseas is just one more example of how students, faculty and professional staff can demonstrate civic goodwill.”

Holiday Toy Drive

The University hosted its 21st Holiday Toy Drive this year, culminating with over 5,000 toys given to over 70 community organizations. Drexel Dragons were involved with donating toys, and faculty and staff also helped stuff bright red bags full of toys for Santa to give to members of community organizations (and a little girl who was very excited to meet the man in red) at a Dec. 11 event in Main Building.

“It would be impossible for us to pull this off without the dozens of community organizations that are willing to act as the distribution arm of this wonderful venture,” Drexel President John Fry said at the event. “These community organizations are going to brighten the lives of thousands of kids as a result of this work, and I’m so pleased because there’s no way we could do this without you. This partnership is just incredible. Twenty-one years in the making and it’s nice that we find occasions for Drexel faculty and staff to get together with members of the community to do something really good for these kids. Because in the end, I think it’s the most important responsibility we have in our society to do well for kids.”

Alumni Turkey Drive

Drexel Alumni hosted its 44th annual Alumni Turkey Project this year, and exceeded its fundraising and, ultimately, turkey-giving goals for 2017. Originally, the goal was to raise $36,000 to distribute 1,440 turkeys to 1,440 families in honor of its 44th year. In the end, $39,491 was donated by 682 Drexel alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, which made it possible for 1,500 turkeys to be given to as many families for a special holiday dinner. Another 40 bags of unperishable foods were included in the giveaways, which were distributed to 42 community organizations and initiatives.

The turkeys were distributed on Dec. 14, with 100 Drexel Dragons donning turkey hats and bright gold scarves to haul boxes of turkeys into the cars of community organizers and families.

“The Turkey Project is the longest-running alumni tradition at Drexel and another example of how the University is committed to being the most civically engaged in the county,” said David Lanza, associate director of alumni relations, who coordinated the event. “We’re proud to honor this tradition each year and do our part to help those in need.”

Relive the holiday cheer with this picture recap: