Emory Cares 2021: Oxford continues tradition of giving by packing boxes, cleaning trail

Daniel Christian •

Emory Cares volunteers gather with gift boxes for children and teens in the Newton County Foster Care Program.
Emory Cares volunteers gather with gift boxes for children and teens in the Newton County Foster Care Program.

Volunteers packed more than 145 boxes and tended the Hearn Nature Trail.

Oxford College students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered at the Student Center last weekend to join in the spirit of holiday giving as part of Emory Cares International Service Day.

For the 17th year, the Oxford community packed care boxes for children and teens in the Newton County Foster Care Program. Nearly 70 volunteers showed up to fill more than 145 boxes with daily essentials and gifts, such as school supplies, activity books, gift cards, socks, hats, and more. 

Supplies were donated beforehand by members of the Oxford community—including those who could not attend—and were wrapped in boxes with holiday paper and handwritten notes inside, adding a festive and personal touch to the gifts. 

The Division of Family and Children Services will distribute the boxes to children and teens at their annual holiday party next month.

"It was wonderful to see so many volunteers carrying on our tradition of creating gift boxes for local children in the foster care program,” said Jenna Holton, Volunteer Oxford Coordinator. “I couldn't be more grateful for how everyone gave what they could to serve our community and beyond."

Other Emory Cares projects included the annual clean-up of the Hearn Nature Trail. The event was planned by Volunteer Oxford, Oxford Athletics, Emory Cares, and the Tree Advisory Committee.

Oxford's Forest Restoration Team and volunteers pulled invasive plant species from the Hearn Nature Trail.

Oxford's Forest Restoration Team and volunteers pulled invasive plant species from the Hearn Nature Trail.

A group of about 30 volunteers, along with Oxford’s Forest Restoration Team, assembled in the woods to pull invasive plants that negatively affect the natural ecosystem. Since 2014, this project has contributed to Oxford’s designation as a “Tree Campus” by the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit focused on conservation efforts and education. The designation recognizes campuses that are committed to growing and maintaining their forests.

"After missing Emory Cares Day last year due to the pandemic, it was great to be back in the forest with students this year,” said Michael Martin, Lecturer in biology and Chair of the Tree Advisory Committee. “We made a lot of room for new native plants to take root and restart the natural cycles that have been interrupted in our forests by invasive plant species."

“Every year, these two events provide a great opportunity to refresh our sense of commitment to this campus and our broader community,” said Latasha Brown, Assistant Director of Advancement and Alumni Engagement. “We hope the children in the Newton County Foster Care Program have a peaceful holiday season.”

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