Quentin arrived at his elementary school one morning wearing a grown-man’s jeans, cinched tight with a belt, their frayed edges peeking beneath his worn T-shirt. He wore no socks, his ankles bitten by the winter cold.
His teacher, noticing Quentin’s state of dress, gently asked what happened to his socks.
“My sister needed them,” he said.
Quentin’s need, along with those of hundreds of underprivileged children across five counties in Upstate South Carolina, is the reason MAGI exists.
MAGI is a grassroots effort at Anderson University to provide gifts and clothes to underprivileged children like Quentin. This year marks its 22nd anniversary at AU’s South Carolina School for the Arts and the Department of Art and Design, where organizers hope to offer more Christmas cheer than ever before.
The effort begins this year with a fundraiser. Organizers are selling CDs of music compiled by the music students of the South Carolina School for the Arts. The sale begins at Anderson University’s First Night Christmas pageant on Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., and continues throughout the holiday season. The purchase price for CDs is $5, and they are available online. All proceeds benefit MAGI’s efforts.
In 2016, 107 children across five counties in Upstate South Carolina received gifts they would not otherwise have because of MAGI. Working through a network of AU alumni who are teaching art in area elementary schools, MAGI identifies children in need. In addition, MAGI annually sponsors dozens of children from two Upstate organizations: Helping Hands, an emergency shelter and foster home for abused and neglected children in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties; and the Anderson Early Head Start program.
“It is my great honor to direct this project every Christmas,” said Jo Carol Mitchell-Rogers, associate dean of the South Carolina School for the Arts at Anderson University, and director of MAGI. “I am always inspired by our students’ huge hearts and tireless efforts on behalf of these children. Their work epitomizes the genuine spirit of Christmas.”
Through MAGI, all children and their siblings receive clothing, shoes and coats, along with items from their Christmas wish lists.
Begun in 1995 by AU’s art education club, MAGI has grown into a network of students, alumni, faculty and staff who organize the initiative on a voluntary basis. Every penny raised is spent on specific needs, with no administrative costs. MAGI welcomes contributions, which are tax-deductible. Those considering sponsoring a child directly can do so. For more information on ways to get involved, contact Mitchell-Rogers at JMitchell-Rogers@andersonuniversity.edu.