One of the most nostalgic moments of Christmas is waking up to a pile of presents under the tree. The sad reality is that many families aren’t financially able to provide presents for their children.  

Volunteers donate their time and help the community throughout the holidays and this year, 339 children will receive Christmas presents from the Angel Tree. 

Community members, Ball State faculty and Ball State students have all donated for needy children in the Muncie area. Donors came in to the Student Voluntary Services office, received a child’s name on an ornament from the tree and went out and bought Christmas gifts for that child.

SVS wrapped the gifts Dec. 5 and will distribute them through the Delaware County Department of Family and Children’s Services. Gifts will be delivered to DCS Dec. 9.

Mackenzie Espich is a senior social work major and SVS member.

“I don’t think volunteering is important just during the holiday season,” Espich said. “Volunteering is important all the time, especially in the Muncie community. Muncie is a community that needs a lot of improvements.”

Even though the Angel Tree gifts have been wrapped and the holiday season is almost here, there are still many more opportunities to help the community throughout the year.

“We work with all kinds of organizations, from tutoring programs and animal shelters to working with senior citizens, to nursing homes, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and food pantries,” Espich said.

With all those opportunities available so close to campus, there’s bound to be an opportunity for each student. Volunteering is about more than just a time commitment.

“Volunteering makes you a part of the Muncie community instead of just being a Ball State student," Espich said. "You become a part of the actual community of Muncie and Delaware County.” 

The opportunity to volunteer and meet other people can help students experience something different than what they're used to. 

“It’s important for students to take time out of their day to learn and become more diverse. A lot of the students that come here are from nicer areas … so having that experience of diversity is really good for them,” Espich said.

Students can get involved through SVS or Ball State BennyLink.

“It’s not just about volunteering to get hours and volunteering because you like volunteering, it really is dedicating your time to a community in need,” Espich said.