LOS ANGELES — Last year, the Occidental College baseball and softball teams teamed up to collect and donate more than 100 toys to the Violence Intervention Program, contributing to a record-setting toy drive that put new gifts in the hands of 1,000 children. On Sunday, they brought a lot more people and a lot more gifts.
This year, the Occidental College football team joined the baseball and softball teams to take part in the VIP Holiday Drive. VIP provides medical and mental health services to foster children and other victims of child abuse up to age 18.
"This is one of the most special times of the year," Occidental baseball coach Luke Wetmore said. "For most of us, we are surrounded by family and friends and have full plates and gifts to exchange. However, there are many young people out there that do not get to experience the joys of the holiday season like we do and it is important to look beyond our own lives and show compassion for people going through some very tough times.
"It is a privilege to work at an institution committed to making an impact in its community and to have a team that is willing to take time from their studies and money from their wallets to make a difference."
In all, the Tigers donated more than 300 toys. All donated items are distributed to the children and their siblings who receive services at VIP.
"With the help of football, softball, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the Oxy community at large, we more than tripled the number of gifts we donated to VIP this year," Wetmore added.
The Tigers also received a bag of gifts from Occidental's Religious and Spiritual Life Director Irma Mancilla as a show of appreciation.
VIP is accepting gifts until the holidays. For more information on the Violence Intervention Program, visit violenceinterventionprogram.org.