Marshall Ellis (top) and Abby Buckhouse (right) were two of several BCU students who helped with the annual Christmas Party for Persons with Disabilities.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Spreading Christmas cheer and giving to others were the main focus of the annual Christmas Party for Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 5 at Briar Cliff University.
This is not only a highlight of the Christmas season for the more than 100 residents from Mid-Step Services, Opportunities Unlimited and the Pride Group but also for the students, faculty and staff of BCU who volunteer at the event sponsored by Campus Ministry.
“We are a Catholic, Franciscan university. This is our mission and identity,” said Gil Ridenour, associate campus minister at BCU. “This is what (St.) Francis did – reach out to those who people don’t always reach out to. We really care about these people.”
A short prayer service started the event and Bev Wharton, BCU president, welcomed the residents. The meals were served by students, faculty and staff along with dessert. The Cliff Singers came in donning festive attire and led the residents in popular Christmas carols such as Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls.
Ridenour said it was great to see the “child-like faces of these people when we were singing Christmas carols.
They are just filled with joy. It is such a great feeling. I get goose bumps.”
After carols were sung, Santa Claus made a visit and, with some help from his elves (Briar Cliff students), distributed Christmas gifts to each resident.