STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) — Georgia Southern’s Holiday Helper Tree is celebrating 30 years of giving back.
Each ornament on the tree represents people in need of a little extra help this holiday season.
Since 1994, The Holiday Helper Tree has encouraged the community to send gifts to families in need. The 250 people helped in their first year soon became thousands.
Partnering with over 20 local non-profits, they find out what families need for the holidays, whether that’s toys and games or socks and blankets.
“It’s easy for us to forget sometimes that not everyone is joyful or celebrates the holidays and sometimes that’s due to people they’ve lost due to lack of family and friends or support,” said Urkovia Andrews, assistant director of student leadership and community engagement. “This is another way to say hey we’re here for you we want what’s best for you. Whatever that may look like.”
The co-founder of the tree, Eileen Sconyers, is asking the community to come pull an ornament off the tree and turn it over to help someone out.
“When I see people in need I mean my heart just goes out to them,” said Sconyers. “When we started the program 30 years ago, there was a need there and that need increased over time.”
It took almost 30 years for the tree to become virtual, nowadays you can visit the tree online, although you will need to register through your GSU login, someone who’s not a student or faculty member can sign up as a user as well.
“Go help someone out there this holiday season,” said Sconyers. “There’s people out there that need us.”
The Holiday Helper Tree will be open through November, ending on December 1, for anyone in the community who wants to give back. They’re also accepting donations of wrapping paper and ribbons.