Gift Drop-off Instructions

The Student Parent HELP Center (SPHC), is a program of the University of Minnesota, Office for Student Affairs which serves low income undergraduates who are pregnant or parenting children while working toward their BA/BS degrees. The SPHC is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the US and has been serving low income students since 1967 and student parents exclusively since 1984. The SPHC provides a wide range of academic and family based services, Gifts for Little Gophers (formerly Adopt a Family) is just one of them.

The SPHC student parents are dedicated, hard-working students who are making sacrifices to get an education and provide a better future for their children. All students served by the SPHC are financial aid eligible due to their low income status, most are in the lowest EFC (expected family contribution) range on their FAFSA. The support they receive through this program helps students who might not be able to afford holiday gifts for their children after paying for tuition, books, rent, child care, and other family expenses.

Drop-off Information

Gifts must be received no later than Tuesday, December 12, 2017 in order for students to get them before break. Those needing to deliver their gifts later than 5 p.m. may state that when booking their drop-off appointment and all efforts will be made to have staff on-site to accommodate you when possible.

Wrapped and labeled gifts should be delivered to Student Parent Help Center, 24 Appleby Hall, 128 Pleasant Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, between the hours of 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m., M-F. Every gift should be labeled with the family member’s gender and age (ex: girl, age 5) and family number and all bags should be clearly labeled with the family number. The specific loading dock location for APH is off of East River Rd and directions will be provided at time gift delivery appointment is scheduled.

For ease of parking, it is far easier for all donors if they schedule a specific drop-off appointment by calling 612-626-6015. If you receive voicemail leave a name, family #, call back # and we will get back to you. WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW MUCH EASIER IT IS FOR DONORS TO DROP OFF BY APPOINTMENT. Dropping off without an appointment can lead to parking issues, parking tickets and interruption of on-going SPHC programming (we hold on-going student programming in addition to GFLG up until the last day of classes). Drop appointments allow you to utilize our loading dock and parking pass, and we can meet you at your car, take the gifts from you and eliminate the need to pay for parking or even getting out of your care and into the cold! 

Alternate Drop-off

For those wishing to avoid the campus traffic or needing an earlier morning or later evening drop time, we will be offering an alternate gift drop location near the Rosedale Mall and the Hamline exit for Highway 36 in Roseville. This drop location will be available on Friday, December 8th only and donors must provide a drop off window for this location as well by calling the SPHC front desk at 612-626-6015 or 612-626-1762. At the time your drop appointment window is scheduled through that SPHC front desk line, you will be given full directions for the location. 

For more information about SPHC or the Gifts for Little Gophers/Adopt a Family project, please contact Susan Warfield at or call 612-625-5437.

Mail-in Gifts

Boxes may be mailed in for out of town and out of state donors, but must arrive in the SPHC by the stated deadline of December 12, 2017. That address is:

University of Minnesota
Student Parent HELP Center c/o Office for Student Affairs
RM 109 Appleby Hall
128 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

About SPHC Families

All of the student parents served by the SPHC are low income as verified by information provided on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students participating in the SPHC Gifts for Little Gophers/Adopt a Family program are further screened for greatest economic need and specific family or personal hardship that may be preventing the students and their children from celebrating the holidays. Our student parents typically do not qualify for other holiday assistance programs. When community-based agencies find out they are attending the U of M, they assume they are economically more secure than the working poor or unemployed families typically served by external programs. This is simply not true. Our U of M students support themselves and their families through the financial aid and loans they receive, along with the hours they work when not in class or with their children. Many are not able to maintain employment due to their single parent status, or academic rigor of their major. Their educational and household expenses do not allow for anything extra for holiday gifts. Often our students are estranged from their own families due to the pregnancy that has occurred, so there may be no external family support as well, or the family of origin is also living in poverty.

The SPHC staff will distribute the donated gifts to our student families as they are delivered to the SPHC by donors so that they will have them before leaving for winter break. Student identities always remain anonymous due to confidentiality issues.

Alternate Sponsorships

If you would prefer to make a monetary donation, rather than shop for a family, you may make a donation online on our donation page. Donations made to the Gifts for Little Gophers/Adopt a Family account option will be used to purchase gift cards to be placed in student gifts prior to pick-up. The deadline for donations to that fund will be December 3, 2017 so that we have time to purchase cards before the gift delivery deadline.

Other Funded Programs

Should you miss this deadline to make a monetary donation to Gifts for Little Gophers/Adopt a Family, you may choose between any other SPHC funded student assistance account though the same donation button, 100% of which all go directly to students or to fund programs for student families. The SPHC has two funds which provide students in crises with one-time small grants of $1000 to assist with eviction prevention, car repairs or tuition payments. Other options include student scholarship support and a fund which provides academic enrichment and college encouragement activities for the children of SPHC students. There is a brief description for each option located on the donation page.