WESTFIELD-As area residents begin to get into the holiday spirit, a flurry of events are planned for the public on the campus of Westfield State University.
Now in its 19th year, the university will host its annual “Stuff-A-Cruiser” on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to kick off its holiday festivities, overseen by Lt. Bernie St. George of the university’s Department of Public Safety.
“This will be our 19th annual Stuff-A-Cruiser,” said St. George. “We like to help the YWCA of Western Massachusetts and the shelter to bring some joy to families in need during the holiday season.”
A university police cruiser will be parked on the campus green to accept donations.
“We collect toys, clothing and other personal necessities to try and help ease their burden,” said St. George.
The YWCA, based in Springfield, provides safe places for women and children in crisis, offering counseling, job training, child-care, and health and fitness services. There are 16 programs at several sites in the region, including Westfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Springfield.
“This event raises approximately $4,500 total value in cash donations, toys, clothing and other items,” added Troy Watkins, communications specialist, Office of the President.
Watkins noted this year’s event will also include a visit from Santa, hot chocolate and refreshments. In addition, the Campus Activities Board is sponsoring a Stuff-A-Bear project that allows participants to spend $10 to stuff and keep or to stuff and donate a bear.
YWCA donations of unwrapped toys as well as hats, scarves, gloves or toiletries will also be accepted in the university’s police station lobby at 577 Western Ave. until Dec. 20.
Another popular event for families is the Breakfast with Santa event slated Dec. 7 from 8:30 – noon at Tim & Jeanne’s Dining Commons on campus.
Co-hosted by Westfield State University and the Circle K Club, the event includes a full breakfast with a gift for each child, a photo opportunity with Santa, the Melha clowns, face painting and a raffle with several prizes, according to Watkins.
Tickets for the breakfast are $11 for adults, $8 for children 12 and younger. To order tickets online, visit http://westfield.universitytickets.com/user_pages/event.asp?id=407&cid. For ticket questions, contact Kim Hosmer at [email protected] or call (413) 572-8295. Ticket sales will end on Dec. 5 or when the event is sold out.
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without music and a free Winter Gala concert is slated Dec. 13 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Dever Stage in Parenzo Hall, 577 Western Ave. The instrumental and vocal ensembles of the university’s Department of Music will perform.
Lastly, the University Wind Symphony and Chamber Chorale will perform at the 34th annual Christmas Concert on Dec. 8 at 3:30 p.m. at the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 2320 Main St., Memorial Square, Springfield. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Sister Caritas Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center. For tickets or more information, call (413) 737-1496 or visit www.stgeorgecath.org.