Christmas has arrived early on the West Virginia University campus.

A busy group of elves, led by Student Organization Services, is hard at work planning WVU s annual holidaySHOPpingspree to make the holidays brighter for local disadvantaged children.

Every holiday season, WVU students gather money and toys for their SHOP (Students Helping Other People) and Toy Mountain programs. Last year, they raised $8,000 and were able toSHOPfor 80 needy children.

This is the one time a year, besides a childs own birthday, when he or she receives presents,Kaylee Wilson with Student Organization Services said.Its just so nice to know that those of us who can give a little extra can do so and absolutely make a childs Christmas. These are kids who normally would not have the opportunity to receive nice gifts.

SHOP pairs WVU student chaperones with kids ages 6-12. This years event takes place on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon. WVU buses will drop off nearly 100 kids at Super Kmart, where they get to pick out up to $50 in clothes and toys.

After theirSHOPpingspree, kids will be treated to a lunch of pizza and pop, provided by Sbarro, at the Mountainlair.

Through SHOP and Toy Mountain, WVU students have been making the holidays bright for those less fortunate for nearly 20 years, noted Ron Justice, assistant dean of students.

I think it is so rewarding for both the children and the WVU student volunteers to spend time together,Wilson said.I started working with this program last year as a freshman at WVU , and I know that it was very rewarding personally to see the smiles we helped put on those childrens faces.

People are asked to contribute $50 per child. Cash and checks will be accepted at the Student Organization Services office in theLair through Wednesday, Dec. 8. Checks should be made payable to SHOP and can be mailed to: SHOP , Student Organization Services, Mountainlair, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6444, Morgantown, WV 26506 -6444.

Meanwhile, the Mountainlair will again be home to Morgantowns largest mountain of toys the week of Dec. 8.

Members of the WVU and Morgantown communities are encouraged to drop off new, unwrapped toys (valued at $5 or more) at the Student Organization Services office in theLair through Monday, Dec. 13.

Students will begin constructing the mountain on Monday, Dec. 6, in theLair food court.

At 10 a.m., Monday, Dec. 13, WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. and a student government leader will present the toys to representatives from local nonprofit agencies .

Other Toy Mountain collections will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Nov. 30-Dec. 13, Warner Theatre on High StreetDonate a new, unwrapped toy (valued at $5 or more), and receive a free small soda and popcorn.
  • Thursday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mountainlair SGA booth
  • Friday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mountainlair SGA booth
  • Saturday, Dec. 4, 1-4 p.m., South Park and Suncrest SGA booths
  • Saturday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m., WVU -Radford mens basketball game, Coliseum
  • Dec. 6-13, Student Recreation CenterDonate a new, unwrapped toy (valued at $5 or more), and receive free admission to the center that day.

For more information on SHOP or Toy Mountain, contact Student Organization Services at 304-293-4397.