Conor Ryan with donations

Briar Cliff Student Organizes Donation Drive for Shelters

December 16, 2021

As a college student, Conor Ryan is studying for his finals, working on travel plans back home to Arizona for Christmas, putting his all into baseball practice, and taking in all of the college experiences. On top of his already long list of responsibilities, he is collecting donations for those in need this holiday season.

Thinking this type of giving was something he would prioritize later in life when he was more financially sound, he was inspired by a friend who put together donation bags for the homeless. It was then, Conor knew he could organize something to help the community.

“I was so blessed as a child and I couldn’t imagine how the people spending the holidays without anywhere to really call home must feel, especially kids who have no control over their circumstances,” Conor says.

Together with friends, Conor started accepting donations mostly through Venmo and CashApp along with gently used toys, clothes, books, games, etc. to go to SafePlace Women’s Shelter and the Gospel Mission Homeless Shelter. All items are separated by need at the time of donation.

“The shelters have even more children in them than last year and a bigger need for donations,” he says. “We are going to do everything we can to meet this need.”

Though he is unable to meet the families and children that benefit from this act of generosity in person, he has seen pictures of the smiling faces he’s impacted. Getting his mom involved with gift bags for SafePlace was his favorite memory from last year’s drive.

“My mom was super excited and really wanted to help make gift bags for the women’s shelter happen so we got to work together and it was a really cool moment for us,” Conor says.

His appreciation for those who have helped him is abundant, attributing the community at Briar Cliff from faculty to students for pointing him in the right direction and guiding him through this new experience.

“I’m not special,” Conor says. “Anyone can help try to solve problems they see in their community. It’s very rewarding.”

Briar Cliff University Honors Native American Heritage Month with a Gift to Little Priest Tribal College

Briar Cliff University Names Homecoming King and Queen

Briar Cliff University Hosts Annual Donor Memorial Service