Jingle bells chimed in jingle bell time through the halls of Bay 7 of Smith Warehouse as Project Share donations came in one by one last week.
Stretching back more than thirty years, Project Share is Duke’s largest holiday gift giving program that supports neighbors at need in Durham. Room B252, better known as the Duke Engage classroom, became the base for the project during the first week of December. Monday through Thursday, sponsors dropped off their donations for the families of Durham. By Thursday afternoon, the beige carpet underneath the pile of gifts was no longer visible.
On Friday, a group of Twenty-six volunteers hauled the collection of gifts to the Department of Social Services Distribution Center at Northgate Mall where the donations will be distributed by social workers in time for the holidays.
Forty-four Duke departments and forty-eight individual employees participated in Project Share by either sponsoring a family and/or making a donation.
436 Durham neighbors from nearly 220 families will open gifts ranging from clothing and socks to toys, trikes, and bikes this holiday season.
An additional $3275 was raised in monetary donations to purchase gifts for fifty-four families and to support the Ronald McDonald House of Durham’s Wishing Tree Project.
“It amazes us how giving members of the Duke community are.” said Dominique Redmond, assistant director for programs at the Duke Community Service Center and the annual Project Share organizer. “It’s just a feel good [moment], like wow, Duke did it again.”
Earlier this year a group of four Duke Undergraduate students also participated in Project Share in their own special way. The students, led by Professor Josh Sosin, an associate professor in the Department of Classical Studies, built a Duke blue bike from the ground up as a part of their SpringBreakthrough program. Originally made as a gift for President Price, Duke’s president suggested that the students might auction the bike off and donate the proceeds to charity. A Duke Alumnus won the bike and the money raised went to Project Share. This winter, the Community Service Center and Project Share were able to use this money to buy four bikes, each equipped with a helmet, a tire pump and a lock, for four children in Durham.
Story by James Hardman-Cobb