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Virtual Holiday Helper Tree

Thank You to all who participated in the 29th annual Holiday Helper Tree!

The Holiday Helper Tree is a Georgia Southern tradition dating back to the fall of 1994! Each year, the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community come together to fulfill the Holiday wishes and needs of vulnerable populations in Bulloch and Chatham Counties.

The Holiday Helper Tree serves as a reminder of the spirit of giving and allows our campus to be part of spreading holiday cheer to our community! The Holiday Helper Tree opens each year with a kick-off celebration and runs throughout the month of November. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, the tree was converted to a virtual platform, making the tree accessible for anyone, anywhere.

*Login is required. Community members wishing to participate will need to create an account the first time they access the tree, and pulled tags will be saved to your account.

You can get involved by…

  • Giving a Gift:  Pull a tag from the tree!  Each tag has a gift wish from a member of our local community. You can pull as many tags as you would like.
  • Donating gift wrapping supplies: OLCE will be collecting gift wrapping supplies (wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper, bows, name tags, tape, ribbon, etc.) to donate to the organizations who will wrap the gifts before delivery. If you have supplies you would like to donate, you can drop it off at the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement (Russell Union Suite 1056) Monday-Friday from 8:00AM-5:00PM.
  • Donating funds for unclaimed tags: Another way to participate is to donate directly to one of our partner agencies to help with any tags that are not claimed. Email to be connected with one of our partner agencies.

2022 Important Dates

November 1st – The virtual tree opens! Join us for our in-person Kick-Offs:

  • Statesboro Campus – November 1st, 10:00-11:00am in the Russell Union Commons
  • Armstrong Campus – November 3rd, 10:00-11:00am in the Student Union

Dec. 2nd – Deadline to pull tags and ship gifts. Don’t forget to check the Delivery Confirmation on the Reserved Tags page to let us know when your gifts have been shipped.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the event, or a desire to get involved, please contact the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement at (912) 478-1435 or

The Holiday helper Tree program was started in the fall of 1994 by Georgia Southern staff member, Eileen (Sconyers) Smith, who served as the senior administrative assistant in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology for 33 years. Ms. Eileen has always had a passion for serving others, and in the early days of her career began searching for a way to involve the campus community in serving others. In 1994, the first Holiday Helper Tree was opened and students, faculty, and staff provided gifts for approximately 250 individuals from 5 organizations in Bulloch County.

As the program and need for volunteers to keep the tree functioning grew, the program came to be housed in what was then the Office of Volunteer Services, now the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement. Ms. Victoria Du Ree, the Director of Volunteer services at the time, continued to partner with Ms. Eileen and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology to continue meeting the needs of individuals in our community.

Today, the Holiday Helper Tree is a Georgia Southern Tradition, and each year meets the needs of around 800 individuals from over 20 community organizations and agencies.

The tags on the Holiday Helper Tree represent individuals who are part of or receiving services from one of our over 20 partner organizations in Bulloch and Chatham Counties. These organizations are Community Partners with our office, which means they are either 501(c)3 non-profits, government agencies, or publicly funded organizations. Below is a list of the organizations represented on this year’s tree, along with their mission:

  • Action Pact is a community action agency deeply rooted in the promise of improving lives and communities. The Bulloch County Action Pact operates a senior care center, as well as a meals on wheels program for older adults.
  • Captain’s Cupboard Food Pantry is located on the Armstrong Campus of Georgia Southern and provides enrolled college students with access to non-perishable food items as well as cleaning and hygiene products.
  • Caring & Sharing Home for Boys is a residential care facility or group home in Register, GA whose mission is to seek out and nurture the hidden potential of each youth.
  • Child Advocacy Services seeks to recruit, screen, train and supervise volunteers who advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children as well as provide supervised family visitation for children who have been placed in foster care in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
  • Child Advocacy Services – Visitation Program provides children in Foster Care with a safe environment for supervised visitations with their biological families.
  • Children’s Medical Services is a funded through the Department of Public Health and supports families caring for children with special health care needs. CMS works with healthcare providers and community partners to make sure children and youth with chronic medical conditions have access to timely and quality healthcare services.
  • Claxton Head Start is a federally-funded Head Start program They provide childcare and other social services to families in Evans County.
  • Coastal Pet Rescue is a non-profit animal rescue located in Chatham County
  • Eagle Essentials Food Pantry is housed on the Statesboro Campus of Georgia Southern and provides enrolled college students with access to non-perishable food items as well as cleaning and hygiene products.
  • Emmaus House Soup Kitchen is a community soup kitchen providing individuals in the Chatham County area with access to hots meals, clean clothing, and a hot shower.
  • Four Seasons of Love Group Home, LLC is a youth group home for boys in Bulloch County.
  • Friends of Cats is an animal welfare organization based on the Armstrong Campus of Georgia Southern University which seeks to care for the feral cat population that lives on and around the campus. They provide feeding stations, veterinary care, and operate a Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program.
  • The Front Porch is a a community-based risk reduction program in Chatham County designed to identify youth and families at risk of becoming involved with the Court and link them to community resources to divert them from the court system.
  • GSU Senior Companions assist adults who need extra support to live independently in their own homes. They serve frail older adults, adults with disabilities, those with terminal illness and offer respite for care givers.
  • Heritage Inn is a Senior health and rehabilitation center in Bulloch County providing both short-term and long-term care.
  • High Hope, a Pineland BHDD facility, is a center for adults with Developmental Disabilities.
  • Homebound Services is a non-profit resource in Bulloch County whose mission is to educate, assist and provide services that enable local economically-challenged elderly and disabled citizens to maintain their health, social welfare & independence.
  • Live Oak Migrant Education Program is a federally-funded program designed to support comprehensive educational programs for migrant children to h​elp reduce the educational disruption and other problems that result from repeated moves.
  • Ordered Steps Home for Girls is a youth group home for girls in Bulloch County.
  • Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Shelter provides services to at-risk youth and their families in Chatham County to increase their functional level and reunify families whenever possible.
  • Pineland Community Housing Pineland BHDD services is a public, not-for-profit community based organization that helps children, adolescents, adults and seniors who have mental illness, developmental disabilities and addiction challenges to live more full and productive lives. Their Community Housing program provides individuals with safe housing while providing them with needed resources, training, and health care.
  • Statesboro Head Start is a federally-funded Head Start program. They provide childcare and other social services to families in Bulloch County.
  • Statesboro Summit Apartments is a low-income assisted living facility in Bulloch County that provides residents with a number of services required for them to live functional, independent lives.
  • Westwood Nursing Center is a long-term care and nursing facility located in Bulloch County
  • I bought my gifts in person, how do I get them to the organization/agency?
    • We certainly understand the joy of shopping for gifts in-person, and while shipping is the preferred method, we do have a few options for those of you who shopped in person for your gifts.
      • First, you can contact the agency who will be receiving your gift directly and ask them if you can drop it off. We ask that you do not “show up” at the agencies without calling first as many of them work with populations that have increased risk of illness from COVID-19 and the Flu, and we want to minimize their exposure as much as possible.
      • The other option is for you to drop the gifts off at the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement (Russell Union Suite 1056 on the Statesboro Campus; Student Union Suite D234 on the Armstrong Campus). Please email Emily ( if you plan on dropping off your gifts, so we can anticipate their delivery.
  • How can I contribute funds for unclaimed tags?
    • While a direct donation to one of our partner agencies is always an option, we do encourage that if you can, please pull tags as that is our way of guaranteeing funds/gifts go directly to the individual who requested the donation. If you’re not wanting to do a lot of shopping, there are a lot of tags that request gift cards, and I am happy to facilitate pulling tags on your behalf that requested gift cards and then you would either mail them directly or bring them by the OLCE and I would deliver them to the agency/agencies for you. Otherwise, we have a few options:
      • If a direct monetary donation to an agency is your preferred option, we certainly understand, and it is definitely appreciated! If that is the option you’d like, please reach out to Emily Tanner ( so she can connect you with one of our partner agencies!

Last updated: 5/18/2023