While many are looking forward to relaxation and renewal this holiday season, students working with the campus organization P.E.A.C.E. are coordinating various drives and service projects to help others in need.
One drive which staff, other campus organizations, and students at UT are encouraged to participate in is Boxes of Hope.
For this food drive, participants collect a box full of food including potatoes, stuffing, a $10 – $15 gift certificate for a turkey and other food items that will be donated to underprivileged families.
Though Thanksgiving has passed, P.E.A.C.E. student coordinator Molly Murphy assures that P.E.A.C.E. will not turn down anything that students wish to contribute and will make sure that all donations make it into the right hands.
A second drive that students are encouraged to help out with is Harvest Backpacks.
Participation in Harvest Backpacks includes filling a backpack with essential items such a shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste, razors and non-perishable food items.
Backpacks should be turned in the P.E.A.C.E. office (Vaughn 206) and will be distributed to homeless men and women, providing them a way of keeping their possessions from being stolen on the streets.
In addition to Boxes of Hope and Harvest Backpacks, P.E.A.C.E. is partnering with The Child Abuse Council to provide toys for less fortunate children this Christmas.
Gifts should be new and unwrapped for children ages 12 and under and can also be dropped off at the P.E.A.C.E. office.
‘Students can really get to know their communities in a different light by helping out people who don’t have much, you’re more in touch,’ Molly Murphy said as an encouragement to students to help out.
She further explained that it is especially important for students to serve others in these times of economic hardship as community contributions have tapered off and many agencies are struggling to provide food from their own budgets where they counted on donations in the past.
Student Alaina McGinnis, a junior at UT who has worked with P.E.A.C.E. sporadically since her freshman year, agrees with Murphy and also urges students to participate in the various service opportunities during the holidays.
‘It’s so incredibly rewarding,’ she said speaking of her experiences working with P.E.A.C.E.
‘I made someone’s day, that’s such an amazing feeling. I would encourage anyone to help out.’
Further information and lists for the items necessary for the toy drive, Boxes of Hope, and Harvest Backpacks can be obtained in the P.E.A.C.E. office.
Students interested in volunteering should stop by or contact the office at 813-253-6263.
Emily Williams can be reached at email@example.com