Christmas Day at Pitt brings out faculty and staff volunteers


Christmas may get six weeks of highly visible anticipation, but people also clamor early to be involved in Christmas Day at Pitt, says John Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for community relations in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations.

The annual day of service on Dec. 25, in which the Pitt community volunteers to serve 2,500 meals and distribute presents to local people in need, is celebrating its 13th year.

Wilds says his office has almost recruited all the volunteers needed — 175 people — to set up the room, serve the meals and clean up afterward.

“We have senior administrators participating, faculty and staff participating, and we even have families of staff members participating,” he says.

Some who bring their families (including kids 12 or older) use the event as “a teaching moment” about community service, he says.

Pitt students — mostly the varsity sports teams from the Department of Athletics — also will spend Dec. 17 and 18 wrapping scarves, hats and gloves, currently being collected across campus for distribution on Christmas Day.

Sodexo, which does Pitt’s food service, provides the meal — turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, green beans, fruit salad and mashed and sweet potatoes — and the local Salvation Army invites the guests.

“It’s a day of service for the University to give back during this holiday season for those families who do not have the means for a Christmas dinner,” Wilds says. “It’s all about Pitt giving back to the community.”

Marty Levine is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.