During Welcome Week 2011, students collected and donated more than 12,000 pounds of food as part of the annual service project. This year, leaders hope to have collected even more food.
Welcome Week mentor groups journeyed onto the streets of Abilene Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Each group visited different Abilene neighborhoods and collected canned goods and other non-perishable food items.Â The collected items were donated to the Food Bank of West Central Texas. The service project lasted two hours.
Eric Gumm, director of the First-Year Program, said 12,270 pounds of food were gathered last year, after converting the cash donations into food. Because of the size of this year’s freshman class and the amount of time allotted for the project , he said he would like to see more than 13,000 pounds of food collected. That amount of food would equal about 10,000 meals provided to families in the Big Country. He said the total for the amount of food collected would be announced to the freshman class as soon as he received the final count from the food bank.
Gumm said the Food Bank of West Central Texas serves Taylor county and several surrounding counties.
The mentor groups were spread over a wide variety of areas in town, according to Gumm.
“We actually have collecting points at the United here on this side of town as well as the United on South 14th to try to create centralized places for people to bring things too,” he said. “The neighborhoods ranged from Heritage Parks outside the loop on the north side of town to the neighborhoods down towards Wylie and the south side of town, and then a number of neighborhoods in between.”
Gumm said the goal of the Welcome Week service project is to introduce incoming students to the idea of participating in service throughout their four years at ACU.
“We also want to make sure they understand a key portion of life at ACU is serving others,” he said.
Kari McQueen, junior elementary education major from Georgetown, has participated in the service project for three years.
McQueen, a mentor group leader, said the project time had been shortened because of the heat. She said the purpose of the service project was to encourage the new students to serve their community and get to know the people with whom they will be spending the next four years.
“It’s to get them started in the ACU community and in the Abilene community, because they really encourage not just being here on campus, but going out into the community and serving,” she said. “It’s really just to get that rolling in their heads and give them a chance to serve with their class.”