26th Annual Giving Tree Campaign supports ACC students with children

Austin Community College District (ACC) is expanding its annual Giving Tree Campaign. Now in its 26th year, the campaign supports students and their families over the holiday season. Last year, more than 400 children and 200 student families were served through the college's Giving Tree program.

"For many of the students who participate, this is the only gift that their child will receive. For them to receive that kind of support from their college sends a real message of love, hope, and support," says Steve Christopher, Student Accessibility & Social Support Resources associate vice president. "This is an important opportunity for staff, faculty, and students to connect personally and as a family during the holiday season, especially during this time when we are not able to connect physically."

Faculty and staff are encouraged to sponsor a child by visiting the virtual Giving Tree and selecting a virtual tag by November 30. Each virtual tag features the first name, age, and wish list for the child of an ACC student. Most gifts are under $25 and faculty and staff are expected to select one. Meal gift cards also will be accepted from H-E-B, Target, or Walmart. If a wishlist link is not working, email scprogram@austincc.edu with the child's name and campus.

Both delivery and campus drop-off opportunities are available. For the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students, gift givers are encouraged to select the direct delivery option. Campus drop-offs will be available from Monday, December 7, through Friday, December 11. Gifts being delivered should be sent by Monday, December 7.

Access the virtual Giving Tree list here. For more information, contact scprogram@austincc.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to buy all the gifts on the wish list for the child I chose?
A: No, the expectation is only one gift per child. We asked each student to provide multiple gift options so that faculty/staff sponsors can shop within their budget.

Q: Can my team or department choose a family?
A: Absolutely, families are shaded as groups and can be adopted or sponsored by groups or departments. We just need a point of contact to reach out to.

Q: How much should the Family Meal Gift Cards be?
A: Each family Meal Gift Card will show the size of the family that the gift card will go to. We ask at least $25 for the gift card but encourage $15 per individual in the family (e.g., $30 for a family of two, $45 for a family of three, etc.)

Q: What if the wish list links do not work or there is not a shipping address?
A: Please contact us immediately at scprogram@austincc.edu. Since this is a new process, students and advocates are learning and troubleshooting. We will reach out to the student to resolve the issue immediately.

Q: How do I deliver the gifts?
A: Gifts can be shipped directly to the student from the Amazon or Target wish list. This is the preferred method due to health and safety concerns. However, if you prefer to shop in person, we will schedule drop offs at each campus from December 1- 4. Once we have the schedule for each campus, we will email it to all individuals who are planning to drop off their gift at a campus. We ask that you wrap the gift and indicate on the spreadsheet that you want to deliver the gift to a campus.

Q: What if all children and meal gift cards are taken?
A: We will continue to outreach to students and add children until November 13 so check back on the wish list or buy an H-E-B or Walmart gift card and we will add to a family gift package.

Q: The shipping name does not match the child's name — is this correct?
A: The name the gift is shipping to will be the parent's (student) name.

Q: How are students selected for the Giving Tree program?
A: All students participating in the Giving Tree program are current ACC students who are at the lowest income levels.

Q: What if I have additional questions about the Giving Tree?
A: Please email any additional questions to scprogram@austincc.edu, or email the Support Center Advocate for the campus, list located here

Q: Can I contribute financially?
A: Yes! The Support Center coordinates a Student Emergency Fund (SEF) that helps students and families meet unforeseen economic challenges.
How to donate: Go to https://www.sagepayments.net/sagenonprofit/shopping_cart/forms/donate.as...
Select the appropriate payment button.
Under "How would you like for us to use your donation?," select 'Unrestricted Gift'
Under "Would you like to include a message?," enter 'For Support Center Student Emergency Fund'
For assistance, email paula.mcdermott@austincc.edu.