For the second year in a row, every child on Ball State’s Angel Tree was ”adopted” in only six days, with a waiting list of people who wanted to participate. 

Eighty-five volunteers wrapped the gifts in seven hours Dec. 3, using more than 98 rolls of wrapping paper. 

“It’s not too hard to help others,” said Nicholas Toby, a freshman English education major. “I just signed up and gave like an hour to wrap kids gifts to make a difference to their whole year.” 

Each year, Student Voluntary Services (SVS) receives a list of names from the Department of Child Services, which they use to create ornaments and information cards to hang on a Christmas tree for people to choose from. 

All sponsored children are residents of Delaware County who will be away from families during the holiday season but are not in the foster care system. 


To organize the gifts for the 282 children, volunteers put them into individual trash bags Dec. 3, 2018, in the Student Voluntary Services office. Volunteers used 98 rolls of wrapping paper to wrap all of the gifts. Alyssa Cooper,DN


Individuals or groups can both sign up to sponsor a child. Brooke Isroff, sophomore ABA therapy sign language major, was one student among other members of Phi Mu who was a sponsor this year. 

“We’re very involved with our philanthropy, which is children's miracle network hospital... We just voted last minute to donate an extra $200 to this event to help purchase more gifts,” Isroff said. ”We’re pretty involved in helping sisters out with different events that they need. [SVS President Madison Coffee] requested the $200, so we gave it to her.”

After sponsors drop off the gifts they purchased, SVS volunteers sort gifts by families and put each child’s items in a garbage back, so they are easier to move and transport. 

Before the scheduled wrapping day, volunteers also go through each child and each family to make sure they each received the sizes they requested and that everyone received roughly the same amount of items. 

“Some children get an abundance of toys, an abundance of things, and maybe one of their siblings just got a handful of things,” said Kara Westfall, the assistant director of Student Life. “So, it’s going in and identifying, maybe pick up an extra toy for that child so there's more equality when their unwrapping gifts during the holidays.”

For those who were not able to sponsor children, SVS offered other opportunities to get involved such as helping wrap gifts or donating money, wrapping paper, or tape.  

“I actually do this at my church, so I go out and get gifts and wrap them and bring them back to my church. So, this is just one event that I am really passionate about, and I like wrapping,” Kaitlyn Finefrock said.  “Especially during the holidays, I think it’s really important to give back. I think this is a great way to give back.”

As a social work major, SVS President Madison Coffee said she believes she gets to see more of the effects on children of Delaware County. 

“Being a social work major I get to talk to a lot of people about this event,” Coffee said, “I talk to my classmates, I talk to my professors, and they're all willing to help out and chip in because they are also social work majors and social workers. They want to help.”


Student Voluntary Services President Madison Coffee and assistant director of Student Life Kara Westfall keep gifts organized during the wrapping process Dec. 3, 2018, in the Student Voluntary Services office. Coffee and Westfall made sure each child had the correct gifts and that they were all wrapped. Alyssa Cooper,DN.


This year, SVS did more “tableing” than they did last year for Angel Tree in an attempt to bring the event to the people. 

“I think my favorite thing about [Angel Tree] is the fact that over the years, it's grown so much and people continue to come back every year to sponsor kids, they sponsor sibling sets and they just get so excited,” Coffee said. “We actually had a waiting list this year of people that wanted to sponsor kids, but all of the kids had already been sponsored. That just shows we have so much support behind us with this event and so much support for these kids. We have people that we can lean on in this time of need.”

Contact Alyssa Cooper with comments at acooper6@bsu.edu