lunedì, dicembre 05, 2011

 

Student group organizes Christmas gift drive for Christians in Jordan

By Flyernews

The University of Dayton's Pax Christi group is hosting its second annual Christmas gift holiday drive to send donations to Christians in Jordan.
Pax Christi, meaning "Peace of Christ" in Latin, is a national non-profit organization that works to raise awareness of peace and social justice issues among Catholics worldwide.
Students can participate in the program by choosing one of hundreds of ornaments from a bulletin board located in the back of the Immaculate Conception Chapel. Each ornament has details on a specific gift so the students know what to purchase, according to Pax Christi's co-chairs, Lindsey Cummings, a senior international studies and history major, and Andrew Kuttler, a senior biochemistry major.
"The ornaments all have specific gifts written on them for people to purchase; for example, clothing, toys, and school supplies," Cummings said in an email to Flyer News. "Most of the gifts will be under $10."
Students must drop off their gifts by Sunday, Dec. 11, under a Christmas tree by the chapel bulletin board, Kuttler said in an email to Flyer News.
"There is a table under the tree for the gifts to be placed," he said. "We ask that they be returned unwrapped with the ornament so that they can be efficiently distributed."
Cummings said she has more than one reason for participating in the holiday gift drive.
This past summer, she said she traveled to Amman, Jordan, to do research for her honors thesis paper, which focuses on Iraqi refugees living in Jordan. She interviewed Iraqi families and also people for some of the organizations who will be receiving the gifts from this year's drive.
She said she forged strong bonds with the people she met in Jordan and received hospitality from families who live in poverty.
Pax Christi is working with many organizations to have the gifts delivered to Jordan, including international organizations partially because of Cummings' research in Jordan, she said.
"It is sort of a personal project for me, but it is also a great way to raise awareness for the suffering of Christians in the Middle East," Cummings said in an email.
She said the gift drive is an example of one of the principle functions of Pax Christi - advocacy for the needy and vulnerable.
"When we were beginning to plan the gift tree for this year, I thought it would be great to support some of these people," she said.
Cummings said one of the organizations is Caritas, an international organization which has an office in Amman, Jordan, to aid the country's refugees and poverty-stricken people.
Pax Christi also is working with a Catholic church in Amman, which is composed mostly of Iraqi refugees, she said.
"This church, and their priest, Fr. Raymond Moussalli, provide important resources for the Iraqi Christian community in Amman," Cummings said.
This is the third year Pax Christi has been on UD's campus, according to Cummings. Last year, Pax Christi donated gifts to Dayton's Good Neighbor House, she said.
The Good Neighbor House provides support and resources to the needy with the goal of helping them become self-sufficient.
"We did 101 gifts last year and although it is getting a later start and less time before we leave we are hoping to surpass the number from last year," Kuttler said in an email.
Kuttler said he appreciates the generosity of the UD community in supporting this year's project.
For more information on Pax Christi and its gift drive, contact Lindsey Cummings at cummingsl1@udayton.edu.

Leighann Thomas, a sophomore political science and economics major, chooses from Christmas ornaments detailing gift donations students through Pax Christi for the needy in Jordan, Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Immaculate Conception Chapel.

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