Kappa Alpha Theta Runs Holiday Donation Drive to Support Local Foster Care Children
By Viviane Stackhouse
December 16, 2022
Image Credit: Kappa Alpha Theta Gamma Mu
Kappa Alpha Theta, a sorority at the University Maryland, has begun a holiday gift and donation drive for the Prince George’s branch of CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, to benefit local children in the foster care system.
“Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Prince George’s County trains and supports citizen volunteers who advocate for children in the foster care system. We fight for their rights and needs until they are in safe, loving, permanent homes,” according to pgcasa.org.
CASA is a volunteer based organization where adult volunteers advocate for foster children and navigate them through their time in court processes and in the foster care system until the child is 18 years old
Kappa Alpha Theta has a long-standing 30-year relationship with Prince George’s CASA and every chapter of the sorority does events and fundraisers for their local CASA offices. The Gammu Mu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, located at UMD, typically does a cornhole for CASA event during the fall semester and queso for CASA during the spring semester, along with sporadic fundraisers like this one.
There are almost 500 foster kids in the Prince George’s County area right now, and this holiday fundraiser will be focused on those children in need.
Shae Arneson, a senior marketing and management double major in Kappa Alpha Theta Gamma Mu, has been leading the holiday drive. “I got involved in CASA when I joined Theta because it was their philanthropy and it was the first time I had really heard about it.”
Lily Gardiner, a sophomore undecided prospective business student and the fundraiser director for Kappa Alpha Theta Gamma Mu, described the fundraiser. “Right now we're doing a CASA Holiday Haul, which is like a gift donation, but also virtually where people can donate money online and donate gifts through our Amazon wish list that we put together for the kids,” said Gardiner.
Kappa Alpha Theta has used many different techniques to fundraise for this cause, but has mainly utilized different forms of social media.
“Having the use of Instagram, Facebook, email and even the online Amazon wish list has been the biggest part of our fundraiser. We've had an outpouring of gifts go through there to the CASA office, so I think that without those social media outlets we wouldn’t have nearly as big of an impact as we are having now,” said Arneson.
The fundraiser has emphasized the importance of giving during the holiday season, especially fun toys and distractions to spread joy to the children involved in CASA.
“We chose to do a holiday fundraiser because this time of year can be especially hard for those less-fortunate, especially kids. This is also a time where lots of people are looking for causes to support and places to donate,” said Shannon Goodwin, a sophomore finance major and the finance officer for Kappa Alpha Theta Gamma Mu.
Many of the children do not have parent figures in their lives to receive a typical Christmas experience from, but this fundraiser gives them presents to open during Christmas and helps them feel special.
“I think a lot of people are in especially giving moods within the holidays, and it makes a lot of people realize how much more fortunate they are than others. People are already shopping and giving to other people, so it makes it easy to want to give to other causes as well,” said Arneson.
Donations can be through physical gifts, dropped off at the Kappa Alpha Theta house at UMD, gifts sent through an Amazon wishlist or direct donations made online. You can also volunteer your time and volunteer to sort or wrap gifts if you cannot donate financially.
If you are looking for a way to spread holiday cheer or helps children in need in the UMD community, consider donating to this cause through the links below!