Following a continued spike in COVID-19 cases in the Pittsburgh region, the annual Christmas Day at Pitt has been canceled.
Jamie Ducar, director of community engagement at the Office of Community and Governmental Relations, told members of the Senate Community Relations committee on Dec. 1 that the difficult decision was made “due to updated advisories and an acknowledgment of the scale and the number of folks involved.”
This event — where guests would participate in a dinner celebration on Christmas Day and leave with toys, winter accessories and other gifts — has been part of the Pitt community for 15 years. Last year, more than 2,000 meals were served.
The annual event already had scaled back its usual number of volunteers from about 200 throughout the day to 100, with shifts of no more than 50 people. Ducar said. Further adjustments included using the new pedestrian plaza, a large outdoor space that’s part of the William Pitt Union, to help maintain social distancing. There also were plans to do individual, pre-packaged, to-go meals for families.
However, Ducar said there are still plans to fulfill holiday wish lists from Pitt’s usual community partners and Amazon wish lists from youth in South and West Oakland.
Additionally, Pitt Athletics is collaborating with the Community Empowerment Association to host a drive where student-athletes will wrap presents and bring them directly to the organization in Homewood.
— Donovan Harrell
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