Fifty-seven families and 151 children in Harnett County, N.C. had a happier Thanksgiving this year and can look forward to a fun Christmas, thanks to Sullivan Foundation partner school Campbell University’s 10th annual Community Christmas Store.

The store, created to help families struggling to make ends meet over the holidays, provides gifts to local children by working closely with community partners (such as churches and schools) to identify families in need of extra help.

Related: Campbell University joins Collegiate Hunger Challenge to combat food insecurity

Christmas Store participants purchased hundreds of gifts from an Amazon Christmas Store list, and various departments across the university collected items for food boxes. More than 100 Campbell faculty, staff and students volunteered their time and resources to wrap gifts and prepare food boxes, complete with Thanksgiving ham.

“I love being a part of the Christmas store committee,” said Kendra Hancock. “Although it looked a little different this year, we were still able to help those in our community.”

A volunteer with Campbell University’s Community Christmas Store prepares a holiday food box for a family in need.

Hancock and the committee, headed by Elaine Dawson, implemented an Amazon Wish List containing toys and gifts for children up to 14 years old. More than half of the gifts for nearly 60 families served came from the Amazon list, and enough food was collected to provide a traditional holiday meal for each family. The volunteers also staffed a drive-through in the Butler Chapel parking lot so that families could have their gifts and meals loaded into their cars.

Campus Minister Faithe Beam was very proud of the extra work the planning team took on to make a safe volunteering opportunity for everyone who wished to help serve the community. “Dawson provided strong, steady leadership in a year where the Christmas Store looked different than in years past,” said Beam.

This article has been edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Campbell University website.

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