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Panthers donate toys, spread holiday cheer at drive-thru celebration
Photo by Vince Rives.

Panthers donate toys, spread holiday cheer at drive-thru celebration

December 9, 2020 at 2:45pm

Poinsettias, sweets and bundles of toys traded hands while FIU cheerleaders and employees—adorned in elf and Santa hats—raced from vehicle to vehicle, making sure every gift was collected and every group got their treats.

On Dec. 4, members of the university community were invited to campus to donate toys, collect holiday goodies and enjoy a spirited drive through campus. It was the first-ever President’s Holiday Toy Drive-Thru. 

“It is our pleasure and our delight to celebrate our FIU Panthers. Our faculty and staff have been amazing. It’s been a very challenging year. So, we just want to honor the work that they do while keeping our commitment to our community with our Toy Drive. That’s what makes us a great college to work for,” said El pagnier K. Hudson, senior vice president of the Division of Human Resources and vice provost of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

At the beginning of the route, attendees dropped off toys for children who might not otherwise receive many presents this holiday season. FIU set these gifts aside for future delivery to Lil' Abner, Patches of Homestead and other organizations in the community.

“We normally donate toys during the President’s holiday event. This year, we're doing the caravan. I just had to be a part of this,” said Martha Castiello ’84 MS ’86, an associate director in the Division of Information Technology.

Participants then hopped out of their vehicles and decorated them in holiday regalia and Panther Pride before forming a caravan in front of Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

At the start of the drive-thru, the marching band played tunes while the cheerleaders handed out poinsettias. Caravan participants received FIU pins, baked treats, hand sanitizer and Shop FIU giveaways as they made their way to a drive-by photo booth at the end of the route.

Cheerleader Melanie Boch says she enjoyed the caravan because it was holiday cheer for a good cause.

“I really enjoyed being able to be a part of something for the community,” said Boch, a junior studying economics and international business.

Members of the university community who would still like to donate toys have time. Check out this link to learn more.