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With creativity, Heller Services Corps doesn’t let pandemic stop holiday giving

Blessing Trees gifts in the lobby of McAlister Auditorium.

For many people, 2020 seems like the year that won’t stop giving – and not in a good way. Furman’s Heller Service Corps, however, is determined to change that.

Students leaving campus Nov. 20 and not returning until Jan. 18 meant Heller’s annual RaeNae Nay’s Holiday Giving Tree, which invites nonprofit agencies to campus for a luncheon and the presentation of gifts collected by students and faculty, wasn’t going to be possible. But rather than be discouraged, Heller volunteers got creative.

The result was “Blessing Trees,” a pre-Thanksgiving celebration organized by Heller Director of Programs and Events Addison Smith ’22. Highlighted by an anonymous check for $5,000, a shopping spree for partnering nonprofits resulted in such an enormous number of gifts and donations Heller needed the lobby of McAlister Auditorium to house them until they could be picked up.

Blessing Trees ended up serving 19 agencies, with Furman students, faculty and staff donating a record number of gifts.

Below is a gallery of images taken from the Blessing Trees giveway on Wednesday, Nov. 18.


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