Camp Titan is hosting their annual Camp Titan Toy Drive where Christmas gifts are donated to underprivileged children in Orange County. Students, faculty, staff and friends are encouraged to participate in this meaningful program.
Unwrapped toys and monetary donations are being collected at the Titan Student Union (TSU) Information and Services Desk. Wednesday is the last day to donate gifts for the toy drive.
Ray Edmondson, Camp Titan co-director of staff management, said the turnout this year has been extremely poor.
“We have about half of the toys that we did at this time last year, and there’s only a week until the holiday party,” said Edmondson.
Kids that take part in Camp Titan are from group homes or other disadvantaged backgrounds. If it was not for the toy drive, many of them would not have a presents during this Christmas season.
Susan Bolter, Camp Titan co-director of staff management, worked with the event last year and considered it a great success. Last year the event had about 50 children that received at least 10 gifts each. But this year the event has received a low response from donors.
“We will be lucky if each kid is able to walk away with one gift,” said Bolter.
The children chosen to participate in the toy drive are those who were served by Camp Titan over the summer. These children are specifically recruited to camp due to having a disadvantaged background.
“The children who attend Camp Titan are truly amazing and all deserve to be given a Christmas,” Bolter said. “We really need the community as a whole to work together to help make this happen.”
Edmondson has taken part in previous Titan Toy Drives and considers it a great experience. He added that providing gifts to the children is lifting a burden on their families that would otherwise struggle to provide for their child.
“You can see the stress melting off of the parents when they see the happiness of the children,” Edmondson said.
During this month, Camp Titan student organizers will distribute the gifts to the children.
When the children arrive at the party, they immediately go to a table where a pair of staff members host a Christmas craft or activity.
Previous crafts included making snowflakes, frosting holiday-shaped cookies and freezing bananas with liquid nitrogen before nailing them to a wooden plank.
“The kids really loved the activities we provided for them, and it was wonderful to see their eyes light up when they unwrapped their gifts,” Edmondson said about last year’s toy drive.
Even though the event is primarily for the children, families can attend and are encouraged to participate in games and activities. Snacks and drinks are also provided for children and their family.
Once the activities settle down, Santa Claus makes his debut and calls each child’s name and gives them a present. A raffle is then held for the bigger gifts.
“Previous years we have received bikes, scooters, digital cameras, etc.,” Bolter said. “The holiday party comes to a closing and after that they all leave with smiles.”
Providing the children with the gifts means these children are having an actual Christmas, Bolter said.
Christmas can be a hard time for families and Camp Titan gives parents the opportunity to be stress free and not worry about getting presents under the Christmas tree.
Bolter added that when the children receive their presents at the holiday party, she sees an instant light in their face.
“You can tell that this is not something that they are used to and it is amazing to bring these children into the spirit of Christmas,” Bolter said.
In previous years, Bolter has taken part in the toy drive and considers it a blessing to help children and give them a Christmas.
“Being able to engage each child in a Christmas activity and see their face light up as they open their gifts is an experience that I feel each person should experience once in their life,” Bolter said.
Edmondson, Bolter and 11 staff members participate in the solicitation of gifts, wrapping and execution of the holiday party. Returning counselors also help with the gifts and wrapping.
Camp Titan is hoping that there will be a big last minute push of donations. Edmondson said they expected to get around 10 toys of various size and quality per child, but this year Camp Titan will be lucky if each child receives just one.
“We take any gift, no matter how small,” said Edmondson.
Camp Titan was created in 1969 by a group of Cal State Fullerton students that wanted to give back to the community and help underprivileged children of Orange County.
“It is truly amazing to be a part of such an amazing organization,” Bolter said.
Any gift for a broad range of ages is needed. Camp Titan’s goal is to provide the children with a few presents to brighten their day.
For more information about the Camp Titan Toy Drive, visit ASI.Fullerton.edu or contact the Camp Titan office at (657) 278-3036.