By Alli Myers

What’s on your holiday wish list this year? A big reality check is usually a good thing for people around the holidays. Are you asking for too much?  There are a lot of families out there that aren’t as fortunate as others during this time. While you’re dreaming about those ever-famous sugarplums and expensive Apple products, designer clothes or a fancy new watch, there’s a little kid out there that only wants a toy truck or a Barbie doll for the holidays. Some want warm sheets for their beds, or a new jacket with all its buttons to keep warm during winter. The simplest thing could light up a child’s world this time of year through participation in the Adopt-A-Family (AAF) program run by The Salvation Army.

By adopting a family with AAF, both individual and group sponsors help to provide reasonable wish list items to a family that would otherwise have a slightly less merry holiday.

The Salvation Army website states, “Being adopted is designed to be a once or, on very rare occasions, twice in a lifetime event for recipient families.” The guidelines supplied by the Salvation Army state that only $45 is required to make a happy holiday possible for a family of two (one parent and a child). There’s no limit to the amount that the sponsor can give, but it’s surprising just how far that money can go. Of the $45 donation, just $25 can purchase several gifts for a hopeful child, leaving $20 to supply a good amount of food for the family during the holidays.

Students right here at MSU are getting involved this holiday season doing whatever they can to help bring a little joy to their neighbors.

Education freshman Kara Kavulich said that she and her family adopted a family last year, and said that it was one of the most rewarding feelings she has ever experienced.

“It felt amazing to know that I was giving Christmas to two little kids that otherwise would have seen nothing under their tree,” Kavulich said.

Grandma’s Comfort (GC) is a charity right here in Lansing that helps give to a lot of people in the community, especially around the holidays. President Diane Zimmerman is the “grandma” in the name, and is actually an MSU alumna. She founded GC on Christmas in 2005. GC started out supplying blankets but has expanded in the past several years. They now provide birthday gifts, necessities for pregnant women in shelters, comfort bags for women and children in shelters and school supplies. The organization has also helped two orphanages and one boys’ school in Haiti.

The blankets supplied are both hand made and purchased, and also donated from members of the community. GC is always accepting donations, and it is an easy way to get involved right here at school.

Zimmerman explained, “We have no employees; we have a few specialists that help us and about 60 volunteers who help wrap and make gifts.”

Whether you take the time to make a blanket or purchase something that could help a child or a family in need, anything you can do will go a long way with Grandma’s Comfort.

Another way to help out is through Toys for Tots, a well-known program that is run by the United States Marine Corps, Toys for Tots has donation stations where donors can drop off toys that will be donated to less fortunate kids for the holidays.

“I bought a couple toys to donate to Toys for Tots, and I think that is just such a great cause,” said biochemistry and molecular biology sophomore Hailey Caudill. She added that even by spending less than five dollars, she was able to get some coloring pages and crayons that she knows will bring a smile to a child’s face.

“I can’t imagine being a little kid and thinking, ‘Why didn’t Santa come visit me this year?’” Caudill said.

Even though the holidays are meant to be about family, friends and happiness, a gift here and there definitely never upset a child. Anything you can do to help out this holiday season can go a whole lot farther than you think, and the AAF, Marine Corps, Grandma’s Comfort and The Salvation Army have made it their mission to help spread holiday cheer. Stop and think about what you are fortunate enough to have this season, and think about what you can give to others to keep the holiday spirit alive!

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