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MTSU Little Raiders, parents enjoy Christmas party to remember

MTSU’s Secret Santas stepped up again for the Little Raiders gift-giving campaign.

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) makes a grand entrance during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) makes a grand entrance during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

This year’s effort gave 43 “Little Raiders” and their parents a brighter Christmas, culminating with a Dec. 11 party held on campus featuring Santa — none other than Student Programming’s Rich Kershaw — and a helpful crew of elves and human reindeer.

Each year, the campus community can “adopt” a Little Raider by picking a numbered ornament hanging on three Christmas trees across campus. The ornaments list the child’s age, gender, clothing size and wish list.

The annual effort targets the children of low-income MTSU students as well as the children of parents receiving assistance from the local Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program.

Sgt. Vergena Forbes

Sgt. Vergena Forbes

MTSU Police Sgt. Vergena Forbes, an event organizer as well as one of Santa’s helpful elves during the party, said this year’s event also benefited several homeless families being served by Club YES, a local nonprofit.

“It was well received,” Forbes said of the Christmas party, adding that several parents were moved to tears. “The recipients were very thankful.”

This year, the MTSU Police Department, June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students and Campus Recreation Center partnered with the Golden Key Honor Society, Iota Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and MT Lambda to sponsor the campaign.

Forbes said that local Christian volunteer organization Barnabas Vision also put together gift bags for the parents filled with items such as movie passes, purses, scarves, toiletries and similar gifts. Dollar General also provided support, she said.

For more information about the campaign, contact University Police Sgts. Vergena Forbes or David Smith at 615 898-2424.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Families attending the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU enjoyed food, gifts and fellowship. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Families attending the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU enjoyed food, gifts and fellowship. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

A curious Little Raider checks out the gifts under the tree during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

A curious Little Raider checks out the gifts under the tree during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

A group of Little Raiders pose for a photo during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

A group of Little Raiders pose for a photo during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

A shy Little Raider eases up to Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) and his helpful elf to get her Minnie Mouse doll during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

A shy Little Raider eases up to Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) and his helpful elf to get her Minnie Mouse doll during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

Plenty of gifts and stockings awaited eager "Little Raiders" during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Plenty of gifts and stockings awaited eager “Little Raiders” during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

A satisfied Little Raider accepts her gifts during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

A satisfied Little Raider accepts her gifts during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

An excited Little Raider during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

An excited Little Raider during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) gives gift to an excited Little Raider during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) gives gift to an excited Little Raider during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

A Little Raider clutches her gifts during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

A Little Raider clutches her gifts during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) is assisted by a helpful elf during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) is assisted by a helpful elf during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

A host of "Little Raiders" enjoyed themselves during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

A host of “Little Raiders” enjoyed themselves during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) had plenty of helpful elves during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Santa (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) had plenty of helpful elves during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

Helpful elves and reindeer were on hand to help Santa pass out gifts during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Helpful elves and reindeer were on hand to help Santa pass out gifts during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program.

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