Two student public service organizations are running holiday drives for the most needy this month.
The Harvard Public Service Network (PSN), the umbrella organization for community service projects on campus, is holding a gift drive. Impact, a organization that does fundraising for and promotes awareness of developing countries, is having a holiday greeting card drive.
The PSN is collecting gifts for local children in impoverished families, especially those in families that have been separated for various reasons, said Bryan A. Richards, PSN's administrator. The drive will begin tomorrow and continue through Dec. 16.
Impact is giving holiday gift cards to those who donate a minimum of $5 to support one of four Third World development projects. The drive intends for participants to present the holiday cards to family and friends in lieu of other gifts.
Participants can direct their money to help reduce child labor in Tamilnadu, India, build rural schools in Nicaragua, build urban schools in Pakistan or support an AIDS clinic in Mali.
Both organizations have been hard at work promoting their drives in all parts of the University.
Two years ago PSN collected more than 400 gifts and last year collected more than 700 presents. This year, with the gift drive expanding to the Harvard Law School (HLS) and the Graduate School of Education (GSE), Richards said the goal is to collect more than 1,000 gifts.
PSN strongly encourages unwrapped educational gifts, such as books or art equipment, in new or good condition that are appropriate for children from infancy to mid-adolescence.
Gifts will be collected at the Phillips Brooks House in Harvard Yard, all Houses, the Dudley House entryway, Harvard Yard, Gutman Library, Conroy Commons or Larsen Hall at the Graduate School of Education (GSE), or Langdell Library at (HLS).
Impact has tabled in House dining halls since Nov. 29, and will continue tabling until Dec. 22. Since then, almost 650 cards have been sold.
Sinead B. Walsh '00, the founder and president of Impact, said that while her organization first intended to focus on the College community, the drive has since been extended beyond campus.
A professor at the Harvard Divinity School has expressed interest in the drive, and members of the greater Boston community have also asked about getting involved, she said.
Jane E. Launckner '01, the co-chair of the central board for House and Neighbor Development (HAND), said that although she supports Impact, she thinks that PSN's drive is more effective.
"It is great that we have both organizations on campus, but I think that purchasing an actual gift is just more personal during the holiday season," she said. "Our gifts go more directly to those in need."
Walsh said that the two holiday drives complement each other.
"I think the gift drive is terrific," she said. "I think the combination of the two gives students a choice about how to contribute to the holiday season."