Many volunteers shopped for gifts for the Holiday Project.
Many volunteers shopped for gifts for the Holiday Project. Photo: Monica Streit

Miami makes the holiday season brighter by helping those in need

Compiled by Kristal Humphrey, university news and communications, and Ruth Orth, Miami Regionals

Many members of the Miami University community have been involved in service projects to help those in need during the holiday season.

Miami students on the Oxford campus helped other students with food insecurity in a pilot meal swipe donation program coordinated by campus services, the Student Success Center and Associated Student Government.

The program allowed students to donate their unused Thanksgiving week buffet meals (swipes) to be available for students in need. The result: almost 1,500 students donating 9,276 meals.

The meals were transferred into the Miami Cares account, managed by Student Success Center staff.

Miami Regionals’ Center for Social Impact honored Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month by bringing together students to prepare and serve lunch to more than 200 members of the local communities at both Hope House Rescue Mission in Middletown and New Life Missions in Hamilton.

Several students with the bears they made to give to foster children

Regionals students built bears for children in foster care. (Photo from Regional Center for Social Impact)

MUH RotarACT did Build a Bear For Youth In Foster Care again this year, making 58 teddy bears that were adorned with positive messages and donated to two foster care agencies. The bears will be given to children this holiday season as they enter foster care.

University communications and marketing held a food drive for the pantry at the Crossroads Church Outpost, 406 E. Withrow St., collecting more than 500 items. Miami’s Student Success Center worked with Miami departments and Oxford organizations to open the pantry, which serves anyone in the Oxford and Miami communities.

Miami Regionals' Center for Social Impact made the holiday season brighter for local seniors and individuals with disabilities by gathering students and staff to decorate 150 ornaments that were given to the residents of the Butler County Care Facility.

Miami Regionals’ staff members are participating in the Rotary Christmas Project, an initiative facilitated through the Hamilton, Fairfield and Middletown rotary clubs and coordinated with area K-12 districts to identify families in need. Parents provide a wish list of gifts for their children and food for their holiday table.

Four international students unload toys from the back of a truck

Regionals students unloaded and distributed toys for families in need. (Photo from English Language Center)

Students in the Regionals’ English Language Center volunteered in several ways during November and December:

  • 105 students volunteered four hours each to ring kettle bells for the Salvation Army in Butler and Warren counties, raising $2205.32.
  • Students led a food drive that collected 1,500 pounds of food to be donated to a food center in Hamilton.
  • They unloaded truckloads of toys at the Middletown Salvation Army for families in need and helped distribute the toys.
  • They raised more than $3,200 for the Global Regionals Program fund.

The Miami community raised more than $8,000 for the Miami Holiday Project. With additional donations of money and gift cards from people and organizations other than Miami and money left over from last year, there was $13,638 available to buy gifts for 135 foster children in Butler and Preble counties. University Advancement also donated 10 new bikes with helmets.

The Miami community helped Oxford Empty Bowls raise $11,324 for area organizations that provide food to people in need, including the food pantry at Crossroads Outpost.

At Miami's Farmer School of Business, students, faculty and staff again held a Red Mitten Project, buying gifts to match wishes written onto paper mittens. Gifts were bought for 15 local families.

Did your department or organization do a service project this year? If so, let university news and communications know by contacting Kristal Humphrey at