The spirit of giving is alive and well at Concordia. For nearly 20 years, the Concordia University Wisconsin community has provided gifts, prayers, and good cheer to students at St. Martini's Lutheran school in Milwaukee.


The familiar Angel Tree has been in the back of the Chapel of Christ Triumphant since Nov. 10. Students, faculty, and staff eagerly select “angels” from the tree that represent different students at St. Martini’s and what they might enjoy for Christmas.

Gifts have steadily been piling up under the tree ever since.

View last year’s St. Martini School recipients open their gifts.

The service project is run by CIA (Children of God in Action) student leaders. They create the angels, set up the tree, collect the presents, purchase extra gifts, and, under normal circumstances, deliver them to deserving students at St. Martini. Typically, that means they get to go into the classrooms, meet the students, and watch them open the gifts. This year, due to COVID-19, the school will send pictures of their reactions.

“This has become a well-known tradition at St. Martini and the kids look forward to it every year,” says Darcy Paape, Women’s Leadership Institute Director and Campus Ministry team member. “There are always a few children who do not open their gift at school, but take them home and put them under the Christmas tree to open on Christmas morning. This precious moment always tugs at my heart to know that the gifts we send to the children of St. Martini are truly valued.”

There is still time to support the effort. Email Rachel Osell, one of the CIA leaders, at Rachel.Osell@cuw.edu to learn how you can support an angel. Do it today. Deadline is Monday, November 30.

For more information about the CIA or other campus ministry opportunities email Darcy.Paape@cuw.edu.

— Lisa Liljegren is assistant vice president of strategic communications within the Office of Strategy and University Affairs.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.