Seton Hall’s Division of Volunteer Efforts’ (DOVE) will end its “Christmas in October” toy drive on Oct. 22.
Every year, for the past two decades, DOVE collects toys to provide Christmas gifts for impoverished children and delivers them to places in Essex County and beyond. According to the DOVE’s website, “members of our Seton Hall network donate upwards of 1,500 toys for children in need.”
Since the University will finish in-person classes on Nov. 24 this semester due to COVID-19 regulations, DOVE decided to start the toy drive in October.
Amanda Cavanaugh, the vice president of DOVE, said the reduced student population on campus has not negatively affected the toy drive.
“The students participating and donating at DOVE this year are some of the most genuine and committed students we have had here,” Cavanaugh said. “I am particularly impressed with the freshman class this year, they are eager to get involved, genuine, patient and flexible, which is a lot to ask for.”
Cavanaugh said DOVE has been able to spread awareness despite reduced density on campus.
“[DOVE has] been relying heavily on social media and online calendar events,” Cavanaugh said. “The Seton Hall website has been highlighting us throughout the semester which has been a huge help as well. Fliers on campus and the general presence of the collection bins add an awareness factor, too.”
Nandini Jani, a sophomore diplomacy major, chose to stay remote this semester. Jani said she found out about the “Christmas in October” toy drive through Alpha Phi Omega. She said she and her brothers in Alpha Phi Omega plan on donating.
“The people who haven’t lost everything sympathize with those who have,” Jani said, when asked about the increased participation in the toy drive this year. “Children are not responsible for the craziness of COVID-19 and deserve happiness from every way the community can provide it.”
Cavanaugh said this year has been successful for DOVE.
“At this point we are about two and a half weeks into the drive, and we have a total of 205 gifts with close to $3,000 in monetary donations,” Cavanaugh said. “This is an enormous response that is definitely greater than we have had in years past. We are so impressed and overwhelmed by the generosity of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents.”
Students can make a donation, mail toys to Seton Hall or drop them off at any of the DOVE donation bin sites. For more information, visit the DOVE website.
Sarah Bond can be reached at email@example.com.