Angel Tree at WIU helps give back to the community

Jenna Skarlupka, NEWS3 Reporter

MACOMB, IL (NEWS3) – With Christmas coming, many people have already started shopping, and Western Illinois University has a way to get the community involved in gift-giving.

WIU has partnered with the Salvation Army to set up an angel tree on the first floor of the University Union. Anyone at WIU and in the Macomb community can take a tag from the tree, register it at the service desk and buy gifts for kids from low-income families before returning them to the Union’s Office of Student Engagement. KiKi Marshall, an OSE representative, said it’s an easy process.

 “You pick up the toys from Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart or Target,” Marshall said. “Then, you just bring it back, and you don’t have to wrap it…they take care of it and get it to the families.”

Marshall said students especially should help play Santa to give back to the community for its support of various WIU events and programs, as well as the local economy.

 “They come to our football games, our volleyball games and our baseball games,” Marshall said. “They put money into this community, and they bring businesses to this community that students want here.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many people’s incomes, Marshall said you can still participate on a budget.

“That’s the cool thing about the angel tree, a lot of the items on the angels are really inexpensive,” Marshall said. “Diapers and wipes, Legos, a coloring book, or arts and crafts. You could get all of that stuff…for under $5.”

Donations will be accepted until Nov. 20, when WIU will close for Thanksgiving break and then move to all-online instruction for the remainder of the semester.