By: EVA MONHAUT
The CLAS (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) is collecting donations for the YWCA through Feb.14, as part of their drive to support our local community. Everyday items such as deodorant, shampoo and conditioner are needed, as well as adult pajamas, large cans of fruits and vegetables and towels. A list of the items most needed can be found on posters and donation boxes across campus.
The idea for the drive came about after CLAS Dean, Brenda D. Phillips, visited the YWCA.
“When I got there, I had two minutes to get into the building…everything is behind bullet proof glass and a double lock system… that just gives you an idea that this can be a dangerous place. A lifesaving place,” said Phillips.
The YWCA has a fully staffed kitchen with many of its donations coming from the food bank. In addition, there is a health clinic with counselors. The facilities are run both by full time staff members and with the aid of community volunteers.
In general, the facilities hold about 120 people, but at the time of her visit, Phillips said there were about 140 people in the dormitories, thirty of which were children. The individuals housed in the facilities are given 45 days of shelter.
“When you think about it that is not a lot of time to figure out a plan for your life,” Phillips said. “We want to support our community and show them that they are not alone, that we are there to help them through it,” Phillips elaborated.
That inspired her and her colleagues to come up with a way to get students and faculty alike involved in a fun way to help those in need at the YWCA.
“It’s not just the people sheltered there that need our support… the staff does also… think of what they go through everyday helping people and having to sit behind bullet proof glass. That would really take a toll on you after a while,” said Phillips.
Department secretaries and assistants began creating decorated boxes across campus where donations will be collected. Many of the boxes can be found in the offices of the departmental assistants and secretaries across campus.
Students can get in on the fun by donating items to these boxes cross campus. Each item donated counts as a vote for that department. Votes and awards will be tallied and announced on Feb. 14, as well as a gathering with the staff from the YWCA where the donations will be handed over.
“If you have five dollars, ask a friend to match it and go to a thrift store and get some things. You can do a lot with five dollars,” said Phillips.
Phillips also spoke about how the YWCA is in need of donations now because of lack of funding due to the government shutdown.
“They really do need our help because the federal shutdown is affecting the community… they simply do not have the funds they need,” Phillips said.
“We want to do something in the fall for our campus and in the spring something for our community,” Phillips concluded.