“Undie the Tree” replaces Shining Star Drive

Community Service Club will collect underwear this year for Catholic Charities.

by Torie Richardson and Anna Hafner

story by Torie Richardson

Instead of hosting the Shining Star Gift Drive this year, Community Service Club will be collecting underwear for a drive they have named “Undie the Tree.” The drive will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 10, according to Campus Minister Meredith Snyder. The change comes after Catholic Charities expressed that corporate businesses had met the need for the Shining Star Drive, but a need for clean underwear remained.

“What [Catholic Charities] really needed was for us to help with a collection of underwear and diapers…some of those more basic things that essentially aren’t as fun to buy,” Snyder said.

In past years, advisory members teamed up to buy gifts for families in need through Christmas Shining Star, Catholic Charities’ annual campaign. Last year, St. Teresa’s helped serve 108 children, according to Snyder.

“There was definitely a generous response,” Snyder said.

Though the Community Service Club was “disappointed” about the switch from the usually-successful Shining Stars Drive, they decided to host the underwear drive after reflecting on their purpose: “to meet the need,” according to Snyder.

“I think Community Service Club is open to what the need is,” Snyder said.  “We’ll continue to be open to meeting the need in the future. If that’s with underwear then that’s what we’ll do. I think part of being people of service is asking ‘what is the need?’ and not assuming that we know what that is.”

photos by Anna Hafner

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Community Service Club co-president and STA senior Caitlin O’Toole agreed that the main goal of Community Service Club is “to give what’s needed,” but said “we’re still kind of scared that people won’t participate.”

“[The underwear drive] is just kind of less personal,” O’Toole said. Snyder agreed.

“Oftentimes when we do a drive for something,” Snyder said,  “we really try to tug on the heartstrings of people to help them be aware of the ways in which we take for granted the things that we have and be mindful of the needs that other people have that are not being met. I think that’s going to be self-evident with this drive and so we’re really just going for the ‘fun’ component.”

According to O’Toole, Community Service Club tried to figure out how to make the underwear drive fun from the beginning – starting with the name.

“There was ‘No Holy Nights,’ which was funny,” O’Toole said. “Undie the tree won, though, because it was the funniest.”

In addition, Community Service Club has made announcements over the intercom endorsing the drive by replacing lyrics in Christmas songs with lyrics about underwear.

The club even considered more extreme measures of promotion.

“We thought about wearing underwear over our leggings….but Ms. Snyder said no,” O’Toole said.

Donations from this drive will go to Catholic Charities, which serves men, women and children in the KC Metro area, according to Snyder.