For the second consecutive year, the ACU community has a real chance to make the season brighter for Big Country families who need help.
In a Chapel address Wednesday, Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, implored students to participate in Season of Caring, a month-long opportunity to pray, volunteer and serve.
Nancy Coburn, director of the Service-Learning and Volunteer Resources Center, said Season of Caring gives students, faculty and staff a tangible way to help out, as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach.
“There are so many ways to give around the holidays. It’s a way for us as ACU to collectively help as many as we can,” Coburn said. “We know we have many blessings so we want to help.”
Coburn said the first opportunity to serve is simple. A large truck will be collecting household items, bedding and food between noon-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday in the parking lot near the Williams Performing Arts Center.
The collected goods will be delivered to Arrow Ford next Friday to support Mission Thanksgiving, an annual collection sponsored by Abilene-based non-profit Love and Care Ministries.
Last year, ACU students filled the bottom of a 24-foot truck 5 feet high with goods. Overall, Mission Thanksgiving collected 11 semi trailers full of clothes, food and other items last year. More than $140,000 was also raised.
“ACU has a lot of connections with Love and Care Ministries,” Coburn said. “There are many ministries in Abilene that reach out to homeless and hungry. Love and Care Ministries is well-established and there is a huge need.”
In addition collecting goods, individuals can also help make sure some local families have food to eat on Thanksgiving. Funds are being collected to provide Thanksgiving meals to 65 families at Taylor Elementary School. Donors can bring contributions to the Center for Christian Service and Leadership between now and November 21.
Meals will be purchased with the collected funds and volunteers are needed to help assemble food boxes on November 20. This is the 11th year food boxes have been collected for families at Taylor Elementary School.
There are also two opportunities to put a smile on a child’s face with a new gift for Christmas. Love and Care Ministries hopes to collect and wrap 600 toys in time for Christmas and Treadaway Kids is offering an Adopt an Angel program.
Those interested in helping Treadaway Kids can collect an angel with a wishlist for a specific child from November 14-22. All completed wish lists are due Dec. 2.
For Coburn, Season of Caring is a chance for those who can help to give back, in a real and tangible way.
“We’re called to attend to poor and needy all throughout scriptures. Holidays are a special time of year when our society is aware of need in the community,” she said. “We have an opportunity collectively to make a big difference. A little bit goes a long way, especially when we put our little bits together.”
ACU’s Student Action Leadership Team (SALT) is playing a big role in helping spread the word about Season of Caring and recruiting volunteers.
SALT Administrator Karissa Sherry, senior advertising and public relations major from Sherman, said SALT is administering the program to collect Thanksgiving meals.
“We’ve been doing that for a while. We wanted it to be a part of Season of Caring because one of our main goals is to get people involved in things on campus and that’s what Season of Caring is all about, Sherry said. “We wanted to make that an even bigger part.”
Sherry said Season of Caring offers so many ways to help this holiday season. She encourages all students to find a way to help.
“There are so many different opportunities to get involved. You can use a lot of your gifts to do different things. You can do one little thing to make a big difference here in Abilene,” she said.
Financial contributions can be dropped off at the information kiosk in the McGlothlin Campus Center or brought to the Center for Christian Leadership and Service. To learn more about a Season of Caring of to volunteer, visit facebook.com/seasonofcaring. Volunteers can also email email@example.com.