Dr. Phil Schubert is encouraging students, faculty and staff to start rummaging through their dorm rooms, closets and garages in search of items to donate to the Abilene community.
Donations are just one part of the Season of Caring event which will involve the entire ACU community and span from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.
During the month-long service opportunity created by President Schubert, students, faculty and staff can help the Abilene community by volunteering at several events and donating a variety of items to help Abilene families during the holiday season.
“I recognized there were incredible opportunities for our student body and our community to have a significant impact in this Abilene community for people who need help and who can benefit in tremendous ways from our generosity and willingness to be involved in their lives,” Schubert said. “What a great opportunity for our students and our faculty and staff to be a part of things that matter and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Many university-organized service opportunities for Abilene families during the holidays have been conducted for years, but Schubert decided to expand and combine them with Love and Care Ministries’ holiday services to create the Season of Caring.
To start off the event, a large yellow truck will sit at the corner of Judge Ely and North 16th street Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The ACU community is encouraged to fill it with clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, jackets, non-perishable food, household goods, toys, bikes or anything else to help families in Abilene make it through the holiday season. Donations to the truck will be distributed during Mission Thanksgiving and Christmas on the Streets – two activities started by Love and Care Ministries that donate blankets, jackets and other household goods to families during Thanksgiving and toys and presents to children at Christmas.
Scott Stewart, the Service Action Leadership Team’s publicity officer, said students, faculty and staff should get creative about how they participate in donations. Stewart, senior physics major from San Antonio, suggests partnering with a friend to buy a gift or finding six or seven people to chip in to buy more expensive items.
Gifts don’t have to be expensive, though. Schubert said the kids will be thrilled with a few toys from the dollar store.
Even if students, faculty and staff can’t afford to give monetarily, volunteers will be in high demand.
Stewart said SALT and the Students’ Association were working together to coordinate all volunteer activities.
Volunteers will be needed to man the donation truck, to wrap gifts, to help distribute Thanksgiving Baskets for Taylor Elementary School families, and for a variety of other service opportunities throughout the month, said Connor Best, junior political science major from Sacramento, Calif, and Chief Development Officer and Parliamentarian for SA.
“We really need people to volunteer, or just give, so we can really affect the community and show that we really care about the community as a whole,” Best said.
A Prayer Tent will be available Nov. 29 through Dec. 3 in the big conference room of the Quiet Place of the Mabee Business Building, and volunteers on the truck are encouraged to pray when they aren’t receiving donations.
“If you can do nothing else, pray for the people who will be touched by this project, including any poor people in Abilene,” Stewart said.
Stewart said he hopes Season of Caring will raise awareness of what it means to serve people and the idea that service should be a lifestyle.
Community service is an important part of life at ACU, Best said. Because of the amount of poor areas close to ACU’s campus, he said it was important for the ACU community to give back what it has been blessed with – and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
“We’re giving the people a tangible, simple way to give back to others in the community,” Best said.
For more information on all Season of Caring activities, students can visit the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/seasonofcaring or visit the Season of Caring information booth located in the Campus Center Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.