The “Spirit of Giving” is Dying


Lucy Knerr

Students organize food items for ITSOG.

ITSOG is a week that has an extensive history at Westminster. The organizations that benefit from the donations received from this drive benefit the community greatly, and they look forward to the items they receive every November. 

But, in the past two years, ITSOG donation numbers have hit an all-time low. In previous years, the school was able to acquire 30,000+ items to give to these organizations, but recent numbers show that the school is bringing in 10,000-15,000 less items than before. In 2020, the school hit the 35,000 item goal. But 2021 received only 16,000 items, and this year (2022) saw just shy of 22,000. This is a major decrease as opposed to how many items students used to bring for ITSOG, and STUCO and Student Life are beginning to investigate why this is. Last year, they thought lack of publicity caused it, but this year marketing was increased for the event and the results stayed low.

People who work closely with the event have theories for why people bring less items, but nothing can be confirmed. “I think people have stopped bringing in as many items for ITSOG is because they have no idea who the items benefit. Most students do not know where these items are going to and how many people rely on us each year for the items we bring in,” said Isabelle Clawson, STUCO officer and ITSOG committee member. 

Another reason could be that the numbers began to decrease after COVID-19, and they continue to stay low during this recent period of inflation. Items are much more expensive, and getting the same amount of items back in 2020 costs much more now. Still, this is a massive decrease in donations, and it seems that it cannot only be explained through economical factors.

STUCO and Student Life are currently working on ways to get students interested in giving again. Right now, it seems that people simply do not want to give as much as they used to. “I wish that students were more involved in the process. I suspect that most parents do the shopping and students have little involvement other than carrying the items into the building. There isn’t much ‘Spirit’ in this giving,” said Susie Brown, Director of Student Life.

This could mean doing something similar to ITSOS (see “ITSOS or ITSOG?” by Raquel Herrera) in order to get students more directly involved with the process of service and giving. Or, it could mean somehow upping the stakes or the marketing beforehand. No matter what happens, something will likely be changed about ITSOG in the future in order to continue supporting these amazing organizations.