December 20, 2021

Holidays for Little Huskers provides gifts for student parents

A worker in The Women's Center organizes donations.
Craig Chandler

Craig Chandler
A Holidays for Little Huskers organizer carries gifts in to the Women's Center.

Bags and boxes full of puzzles, toys and tiny clothes took over the Women’s Center the week of Dec. 13. The items were collected for Holidays for Little Huskers, a toy drive organized since 2018 to benefit the smallest members of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln community.

Holidays for Little Huskers benefits students who are raising children. This year almost 100 volunteers collected gifts for 54 student parents and 83 children.

Taylor Woodsmall, graduate assistant at the Women’s Center, estimates that around 400 university students are parents. On top of balancing all the responsibilities that come with academic pursuits, they’re teaching ABC’s, making 3 a.m. bottles and organizing after-school activities. And with the holiday season so close to final exams, many of those parents are pressed for time to find the perfect presents.

With Holidays for Little Huskers, student parents received a much-deserved break from holiday shopping. After signing up for the program, they shared information on their children and their holiday wish list. Lists included requests for winter accessories and new books for reading time, but Woodsmall also encouraged parents to include things they needed.

Woodsmall and her colleagues sorted through the donations and organized the gifts for each parent. During the last week of the semester they were invited to the center to pick up their presents and enjoy holiday treats.

“It’s a really great opportunity to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication and help ease some financial burden and time constraints during the holidays,” Woodsmall said.