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Chico State

Chico State Brightens Holiday Season for Butte County Families Through ‘Joy of Giving’

More than a dozen tables are filled with packages of wrapped gifts
Photo courtesy of Jessie Raeder

Chico State’s University Farm Pavilion lit up with smiles and holiday cheer on Tuesday evening, as the University came together for the 32nd Joy of Giving. The event is an opportunity to celebrate the start of the holiday season and marvel at the strong spirit of giving demonstrated by its campus community. 

Led by Chico State’s Staff Council, the Joy of Giving program coordinates efforts and donations from departments, offices and other groups across campus to provide gifts for Butte County families in need. Families receiving the gifts are nominated by area social workers through Butte County Children’s Services. While recipients remain anonymous, social workers collect information about what the family might need along with the ages, sizes, favorite colors and interests of children so that the gifts can be personalized.

Gifts were gathered in the Farm Pavilion for distribution, where a reception was held. Attendees were thrilled to participate in the program and happy to see the range of gifts donated to families in need. In addition to toys, clothes, and bicycles, gifts donated this year included furniture, a double-stroller, and a laptop for a young mother to help her with school. 

“The program served 46 families this year,” said Andrea Walters, chair of the Staff Council’s Service Projects committee. “In addition to organizing gifts, our committee also fundraises all year long so that we can purchase grocery gift cards for every family.” 

Since its beginning, the Joy of Giving campus-wide program has raised upwards of a $100,00 for grocery gift cards. Over 1,900 families in Butte County have been adopted by the program through the years, and over 4,800 children have benefited.

“This program reminds me of why I love Chico State – the people,” said co-chair Jana McQueen. “It makes my heart overflow to see such an outpouring of goodwill from my colleagues.”