Christmas Gift Drive seeks donations

The Christmas Gift Drive ends Dec. 8 at noon when organizations arrive to pack the gifts under the Reception Area Christmas tree (Photo Credit: Theresa Walle).

Long before the Mercy holiday traditions of Christmas Twitter names and Cocoa-and-Cram, there was the annual Christmas Gift Drive. This year is no exception. Organized by Pastoral Minister Ms. Judi Griggs-Dennis and running through Dec. 8, the drive provides Christmas presents for marginalized children of Wayne and Oakland counties.

“Give from your heart,” said Ms. Dennis. “I put myself in the place of those who don’t have, and I thank God for my blessings. It’s so important that we’re grateful for what we have.”

Though multiple schools donate to the Oakland County Chapter of St. Vincent DePaul Ladies of Charity, which serves over 800 marginalized students locally, Mercy is primarily responsible for providing gifts for the girls in the organization. The drive will also supply presents for Covenant House and the the Mercy Education Project (Mercy’s sister organization located in Detroit).  Students are not required to donate, but their help is greatly needed.

“I think what makes me sad is when I first started, you couldn’t even walk through the reception area because there were so many gifts,” said Mrs. Dennis.  “As economic times got harder, the giving got smaller, and it’s been difficult getting the giving back up again.”

Gifts sought are craft kits for all ages, along with large makeup kits, small purses, hats, scarves, and mittens for teens.

“When you are poor and you don’t have food, the last thing you’re going to go out and buy is makeup,” said Mrs. Dennis. “These are little perks they would enjoy.

The drive is also collecting toothpaste and toothbrushes for the Sweet Dreams Detroit project. This project, which provides sleep essentials to children living at or below the poverty line, is led by Nancy Maxwell, the mother of a Mercy graduate.

“Our mission is to reach out to the greater community,” said Mrs. Dennis. “I want the [students] to want to give because most of us have been given so much.”

Donated gifts and supplies should be unwrapped and left in advisor group to be picked up by Mrs. Dennis.