CWU News

CWU Holiday Gift Project Wraps Up a Successful Virtual Campaign

Members of the Central Washington University community are dropping off the last of this year’s Holiday Gift Project donations this week at the Seedlings Center for Early Learning in Ellensburg. 

The annual gift drive had a different feel this year due to public safety restrictions, but CWU faculty and staff still managed to come together over the past month to deliver wrapped gifts for 225 children in Kittitas County.

The giving initiative, sponsored by the CWU Office of the President, offers participants a chance to make a heartfelt and personal gesture to children in need by providing them with gifts from their own wish lists. 

“As always, we are grateful for the participation,” said Sarah Scott, an administrative operations coordinator who has managed the Holiday Gift Project for the past seven years. “Our people always come through.”

Those who sign up to sponsor a child are asked to provide one “need” and one “want” item from their lists. But oftentimes, “they don’t just buy one or two gifts; they get everything on the list,” Scott said.

Some employees shopped online and others went to retail stores to purchase gifts for kids associated with the Washington Department of Youth, Children, and Families; CWU’s Early Childhood Learning Center; and Seedlings. Each organization provided specific drop-off days, with Seedlings hosting theirs this week.

This was the first year that the Holiday Gift Project was conducted online, but Scott says that didn’t dampen the holiday spirit in the CWU community.

“Even though we were virtual this year, everyone was engaged and eager to share their generosity,” she said. “It’s easy, it’s satisfying, and it has a direct impact on the community. These gifts help out parents who need a little extra help during the holiday season. And now, they can fill in underneath the tree a little more.”

Scott said this year’s event was smaller than other years since fewer children are enrolled at the community learning centers this fall. In fact, she had more CWU volunteers than children this year (the 2019 event served more than 300 kids). But those who were unable to sponsor a child still pitched in to buy wrapping paper, gift bags, and other supplies.

With the 2020 project almost wrapped up, Scott said she is looking forward to seeing a lobby full of gifts again next year.

“This is a really fun part of my job,” she said. “Hopefully, we will be back in our offices next year. But if not, we can do it this way again. CWU always finds a way.”

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518.