Charity starts at your Pitt home; opportunities abound this season


There are endless ways to get in the holiday charitable spirit at Pitt, including signing up for the University’s signature day of service: Christmas Day at Pitt, sponsored by the Office of Community and Government Relations.


The University Times wants to spread the word on any upcoming holiday initiatives on campus. Collecting toys, books or more? Let us know and we'll get the word out to the Pitt community. Send the information to

Registration will open Nov. 18 for any staff or faculty interested in volunteering on Dec. 25 to serve meals to members of the Pittsburgh community at the Litchfield Towers’ Market Central, in partnership with the Salvation Army and Sodexo, who last year served 2,000 meals at the event.

In addition, a hat and glove and gift drive from Nov. 12 to Dec. 13 will provide toys for children and winter essentials for adults who attend the Christmas Day dinner. Gifts should be new, unopened and have a retail value of $20 to $25, and they should be wrapped as a holiday present with a visible tag with information about the appropriate age and gender for the gift. Tag pickup can be coordinated with Tami Hirth:

Last year, more than 200 volunteers from the Pitt community helped distribute 500 holiday gifts for children and 1,000 gift bags filled with hats, scarves and gloves — donated through on-campus collections — to guests.

All donated items can be brought to the Office of Community and Governmental Relations, 710 Alumni Hall, or coordinate a pickup by emailing

Contact Jamie Ducar, director of community engagement, with questions.

Other ways to give

While Christmas Day at Pitt might be the highest-profile charity event on the Oakland campus, there are plenty of other ways to give this holiday season.

Dietrich School: The Dietrich School Engagement Team, the Office of Veterans Services and PITT VETS are partnering with the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation to collect new toys and kids’ cold weather supplies to benefit the Mario Lemieux Home, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, and Birmingham Free Clinic. The Pitt Police also are participating in the toy drive. Drop boxes will be at 910 Cathedral of Learning, 234 Chevron Science Center, 2201 Posvar Hall, 3137 Sennott Square and 140 Thackeray Hall from Nov. 11 to Dec. 6. Items being collected include toys, games, puzzles, children’s gloves, scarves, knit caps and socks, and lip balm. For questions, contact Carol Mullen at or Rebecca Roadman at

Parking Office: During the month of November, Pitt’s Parking Office is accepting food donations as payment for parking tickets received before Nov. 1. All donations will benefit the Pitt Pantry. Bring in one box of pasta and one jar of pasta sauce or two boxes of cereal to pay off a $15 fine. A $25 fine requires one jar of peanut butter (minimum 40 ounces) and one jar of jelly (minimum 32 ounces). Bring donations to the Parking Office, 127 N. Bellefield Ave.

University Stores: The Pull on the Pride program provide new college sweatshirts to donate to local middle school students in United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program, to help them see themselves as future college students. Purchase a navy Pitt hoodie to donate in-store and receive an additional 20 percent off the donated item, through Nov. 18.

School of Education: For the second year, the Office of Child Development is running its Books for Change book drive. It started last year in response to the Tree of Life shooting. This year’s theme is books focused on equity (see the full list here), and the goal is to get students and parents having conversations about it.   The book drive is ongoing and will run throughout the entirety of the holiday season. Those interested in in donating can: Sponsor a classroom by donating $150 or sponsor an entire school by donating $750; raise money by fundraising on your own and then buying books; or Purchase books from the curated list at White Whale Bookstore or online at

Facilities Management: In conjunction with Children and Youth Services, Facilities Management supports the Karing for Kids program with a Giving Tree. Facilities has focused on teenagers for this program as they are often less likely to receive holiday gifts.

Pitt Law: In conjunction with the Allegheny County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Pitt Law staff member Jaclyn Belczyk coordinates a gift drive for kids living in shelters. The ACBA contacts shelters to get the names and wish lists for kids and faculty and staff volunteer to take a kid’s wish list and get presents for them. 


  • Since 1998, the Pitt-Greensburg community has supported the annual Jeannette Head Start Holiday party on campus. Faculty, staff and students sponsor 40 children by purchasing each child a toy and an outfit, delivered by Santa. Last year, a $10 Giant Eagle gift card also was sent home with each child to help their families have a merrier holiday season.

  • The Pitt-Greensburg Military and Veterans Services is collecting food, cold weather items (hats, scarves, gloves), and toiletries for the Veterans Leadership Program. The collection will begin Veterans Week (Nov. 11) and will run through the end of the fall 2019 term. Donation boxes will be placed on campus for easy drop off. Military and Veterans Services is also organizing a Christmas Card distribution for the veteran residents of the Southwestern Veterans Center.

  • Pitt–Greensburg staff are invited to bring a non-perishable food item to the Holiday Staff Luncheon in December, which are then combined with non-perishable food that is collected in the residence halls by Student Services. The food and the proceeds from the voting on the Ugly Sweater contest are then donated to the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.

Follow the University Times on Twitter and Facebook.