UMaine Greeks help gather gifts for children

Posted Dec. 10, 2010, at 11:34 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — Fraternity and sorority members at the University of Maine compete each year to see who can gather the most Christmas gifts for local children, and for the second year in a row the Chi Omega sorority has earned the top honors.

The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service & Volunteerism and Phi Gamma Delta led the charge by hosting “A FIJI Christmas” to collect toys to fill shelves at Old Town’s Crossroads Ministries, which this year has nearly 500 children on its holiday gift list. FIJI is the nickname for the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

The announcement that Chi Omega won the annual contest was made Friday afternoon at the Phi Gamma Delta house, said Lauren Wagner, a Bodwell Center volunteer.

“They had some toys there and said other groups are going to bring more,” she said. “We set up gift drop-off boxes, and we also reached out to the community.”

Last year, more than 340 children benefited from the generosity of UMaine students and others who donated through the FIJI Christmas program, Wagner said.

Crossroads Ministries volunteers will be at the Hannaford supermarket in Old Town to collect Christmas gifts and nonperishable food items from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 18.

Families who have signed up for the Holiday Gift Sharing Program, which is supported by the FIJI Christmas, will begin “shopping” for presents on Wednesday, Dec. 15, said Keith Whitmore, program manager at Crossroads. Parents can choose two presents for each needy child, as well as stocking stuffers, he said.

For more information or to donate, stop by Hannaford’s on Dec. 18 or contact Crossroads Ministries at 827-1298 or Lauren Wagner at the Bodwell Center for Service & Volunteerism at 581-1796.

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