WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Dec. 10, 2020 — The West Liberty University Christmas Wish Tree gathered good will and gifts this holiday season, despite the pandemic and changes to the academic calendar.
“Even in this difficult year, the tradition of the Wish Tree keeps us focused on the season of giving and the importance of sharing with others. We are grateful to all faculty, staff and students who came forward this year to purchase and give gifts to children in need,” said Rhonda McCullough, senior admissions counselor and transfer counselor.
The outreach has gone on for more than 30 years, according to McCullough, who has coordinated the tree for all of that time.
Initially, McCullough said she worried about not having enough participation in the annual gift giving since students and faculty weren’t necessarily on campus after Thanksgiving.
“I was pleasantly surprised that both faculty and students remained involved in giving, even though pandemic safety meant that classes were online only after Thanksgiving break,” she said.
“The participation was heartwarming. People called to ask if I had more tags and offered cash donations too.”
The tree was displayed in the Enrollment Services Center, located in Shaw Hall, for about a month. A total of 30 gifts for children, each worth between $25 –$30, were gathered.
Each tag had a child’s name and personal Christmas wish printed on it. Participants then purchased the gift, place it in a gift bag or box, and returned the tag and gift to the Enrollment Center.
Participants also were welcome to make a monetary donation rather than shop for a gift if they preferred, with cash divided equally among the organizations receiving the gifts.
“We are supporting the Children’s Home of Wheeling, St. John’s Home for Children, and Wheeling’s Crittenton Services this year,” McCullough said.
McCullough loaded up her car Wednesday and delivered all gifts to the non-profit organizations with a smile on her face.
“It really is better to give than to get. Thank you everyone for being a part of our Wish Tree tradition.”