By Edita Bardhi
While the holidays quickly approach the winter season, ESU’s 17th annual Teddy Bear Drive occurred on Dec. 3 at the Center Court.
The event was hosted by ESU’s student senate from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The Teddy Bear Drive is an opportunity for people to give the less fortunate a warm and joyful Christmas.
“The teddy bears and stuffed animals are donated from ESU students, faculty, administration and outside donations,” said Keisha Kauffman, vice president of the student senate.
She continued, “Senates get excited because they like interacting with the kids and giving back. It also humbles us because we don’t realize how little people have.”
Present at the event were families from The Children in Youth and Pocono Family YMCA.
Amongst the donations, various teddy bears and stuffed animals were put on display for children to look at and play with.
Children, especially toddlers, could not wait to get their hands on a teddy bear.
After receiving one to two wrapped presents, toddlers and children chose a teddy bear or a stuffed animal to take home with them.
“Any of the toys that we don’t give away today are going to be brought to a local charity, maybe the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots. But, they all will be donated so that people will be able to get something for the holidays,” said Andrew Kissling, president of the student senate.
As families continued to appreciate the gifts, the various Christmas songs, the games and the assortment of refreshments brought a big impact to the cause.
The songs, “All I Want for Christmas,” by Mariah Carey, “12 Days of Christmas,” by The Muppets, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Michael Buble and a few others were played repetitively on a stereo.
Some of the different games available involved three types of arts and crafts, a life-sized Jenga, checkers and ladder ball.
“People enjoy the event and they look forward to coming. It encourages them to attend again the following year,” Kauffman stated.
As part of the organization, the student senate helped the little kids create their arts and crafts. They were also a team member in the games.
“They enjoy themselves as well. They enjoy being with the little kids, participating in the arts and crafts and playing games with them. It’s really awesome,” said Luis Feliciano, one of the members of the student senate.
Midway through, student senate members Marcus Narcisse, Zaria Cyriaque, Mathew Izivera, Dariah Cruz, Isabella Llaudes, and Theresa Chey surprised the children with a visit from Santa and his friends.
“We have characters and it is amazing that some of our student senators stepped up to be in a costume and have a good time with the kids,” said Feliciano.
As the children saw Teddy Bear, Olaf, Cat in the Hat, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Elsa, they began exchanging hugs and smiles.
They were delighted to get the chance to sit next to Santa, and share their wishes to both him and Mrs. Claus.
Teddy Bear, performed by Marcus Narcisse, was seen roaming around the Center Court, high-fiving toddlers and moving to the beat of the music.
A few toddlers began imitating the Teddy Bear not soon after.
As the event ended, parents and children said thank you to everyone and exchanged goodbyes.
“My favorite part of this whole event would be giving back to the community. It’s a really great aspect of it. It’s really good to see some of these kids come in and excited to get some toys, play some games and listen to music. Just us going and helping people out during the holiday season is my favorite part,” shared Kissling.
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