By Madison Petro
ESU’s third annual MLK Day of Service united campus and the community by making art and collecting donations for the homeless. The event, which in total had over 100 volunteer hours, took place on Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
“The Day of Service started as an opportunity to do a service project in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. once students are back on campus,” said Cornelia Sewall-Allen, director of Multicultural Affairs, who helped organize the event.
“Every year we try to expand. We’ve had about 50 to 60 overall volunteer hours in previous years.”
This year, the goal was to reach 100 hours of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and ESU came together to surpass that goal.
Each year, according to Sewell-Allen, the MLK Day of Service partners with a charity, like the Salvation Army or the Red Cross. This year’s day of service partnered with Street 2 Feet.
“The vision of the Street 2 Feet Outreach Center is to assist all homeless persons in becoming self-sufficient and contributing members of the community,” according to the non-profit’s Facebook page.
“Our mission is to offer hope and support to those in distress by responding to the immediate needs of those who are homeless or hungry. We advocate for public policies that help prevent hunger and homelessness and mitigate the issues associated with living in poverty.”
In previous years, volunteers made no-sew blankets and scarves, and Valentine’s Day cards for the elderly.
This year, in addition to the blankets, the campus community also collected toenail clippers and socks for the homeless before and during the event.
At the event, stations were set up in the commuter lounge for people to make no-sew blankets and inspirational cards for the homeless of Monroe County.
ESU donated 370 pairs of socks, 20 handmade no sew blankets and 140 nail clippers for the homeless, according to the Street 2 Feet Outreach Center on Facebook.
Volunteers also made over 150 inspirational cards that were donated to Street 2 Feet, according to Multicultural Affairs.
The homeless do not often have toenail clippers and socks, which are essential for walking around often. This is why, according to Sewell-Allen, those items were chosen for collection around campus.
Not only did the event make a difference for the homeless, but it also brought together student organizations.
“There was a time in my life when I was homeless and I feel like you have got to pay it forward. I like how many people are showing up already, so many students,” said Marina Zannino, president of ESU’s African American Student Alliance.
“I love that everyone’s come out to help so early, especially seeing new faces and seeing how all the halls came together to get a lot of really good donations,” adds Kate Rzucidlo, intern for the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA).
“We’re in Kappa Delta Rho, and this was a good opportunity for community service,” said Alec Fink, while crafting inspirational cards with his fraternity brothers Shar Prez and Steve Sparano.
“We like the fact that we’re doing arts and crafts for people. It’s nice to be involved with other organizations.”
“This has a more direct impact with the community than other service projects and helps us bond with other groups on campus,” adds Prez. “It’s a rare chance for Greek life to work with OMA.”
“Volunteering is something I’ve been doing for the past four years,” said Rzucidlo. “I always like seeing how our university reaches out beyond the university walls.”
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