Mason Community Shares with Greater Community

Posted: December 19, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

In November, the Mason Gazette provided a list of the many programs available at the university to coordinate sharing food and gifts with the less fortunate over the Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays. The groups have now tallied their collected items and distributed the donations.

The results of those programs show that members of the Mason community have big hearts and a generous spirit, even in tough economic times.

Center for Leadership and Community Engagement Holiday Spirit Program

The center collected about 247 pounds of food in donation boxes around campus for the Thanksgiving and December holidays, as well as toys and gifts for children.

They were able to provide gift baskets for 12 needy families (a total of 27 adults and 32 children, infant to 18 years old).

In addition, they collected 550 books through their book drive around campus. Through the Better World Books program, the books will either benefit schools in Africa or be sold to help fund the Mason Alternative Breaks program.

Justin Fogata and Heather Hare wrapping gifts
Justin Fogata, a senior communication major, and Heather Hare, associate director of the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, wrap gifts for holiday baskets for the needy.
Mason Gazette photo

Project Happy Feet for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

The L-TEAM and LEAD Office collected nearly 325 items for their first Project Happy Feet. The donations included

171 pairs of socks

15 scarves

29 hats

101 pairs of gloves

8 combination sets

The Master’s of Social Work Student Association and graduate students in Conflict Studies at the Arlington Campus donated their items to A-SPAN (Arlington Street Peoples Assistance Network), and the students and staff members at the Prince William Campus donated their items to Prince William County’s S.E.R.V.E. (Securing Emergency Resources through Volunteer Efforts) program. Items collected at the Fairfax Campus were donated to Reston Interfaith.

“Thank you to all of the offices and departments that have let us use your space as a designated drop-off location. This has been a wonderful collaborative partnership between the campuses in support of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. We look forward to making this a long-lasting tradition here at Mason!” says Lisa Snyder, associate director for Leadership Education and Development.

Students pack clothing donations
Deidra Bailey (left), L-TEAM member and senior majoring in government and international politics; and Katie Bowen, L-TEAM president and senior majoring in government and international politics and conflict analysis and Resolution.
Photo by Lisa Snyder

Prince William Campus Food and Toy Drive

At the Prince William Campus, each department was provided a basket to fill with food for needy families. According to JoAnn Stevens, about 30 baskets were filled and presented to the CEO of S.E.R.V.E. (Securing Emergency Resources through Volunteer Efforts) at the campus holiday party.

In addition, about 10 boxes full of toys were collected and turned over to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

The Prince William Campus community also contributed to the Happy Feet program.

Ron Carmichael and S.E.R.V.E. representatives at holiday lunch
Ron Carmichael, Prince William Campus executive officer, with S.E.R.V.E. representatives Cheri Villa, president and CEO, and Jan Hawkins, director of Volunteer Services. They are surrounded by baskets of food donated to S.E.R.V.E. by the campus community.
Photo by Deborah Weitzman-Ward

Women and Gender Studies Center: Goat Project

Associate Director Vicki Kirsch reports an exciting end to the Goat Project for the holiday season.

“The Goat Project of the Women and Gender Studies Center partnered with the Women’s Center for Job Creation (WCFJC) in an effort to promote sustainability for women in Uganda. The Goat Project provides goats to women to feed their families and for bringing goat milk products to the marketplace. Each goat recipient is asked to give one baby goat back to the organization within 18 months, thus promoting the sustainability of the larger goals.

“The center raised funds through bake sales, kiosks in the Johnson Center, the goodwill of various individuals and offices and through a cutthroat ‘Pin the Tail on the Goat’ game held during our end of semester party on Dec. 4. Goats are $50 each — and we raised enough funds for 15 goats. Quite a Mason herd! Naming the goats was an option provided by the organization, and several of the goats will be going off to their new homes with rather academic and artistic names.”

Kirsch adds that Trader Joe’s in Centreville provided goat cheese for the winners and snacks for the party.

Yevette Richards playing pin the tail
Yevette Richards, associate professor of women and gender studies, playing pin the tail on the goat to raise money for the goat project.
Photo courtesy of Vicki Kirsch

CVC—It’s Not Too Late

The Combined Virginia Campaign (CVC), the annual workplace giving campaign for state workers, has been extended to Jan. 15. CVC Coordinator Helga Yunker will accept paper pledges sent through campus mail to MS 3C3 until that date.

“There is still time to try to meet our unofficial participation goal of at least 100 people,” Yunker says. “We are very close at 83 participants (and still counting!) with a total of $34,229 in donations as of Dec. 16. Last year we only had 19 participants, and it is a wonderful compliment to the Mason community that they have gotten involved even in these tough economic times. Even $2 per pay period makes a difference! It’s not too late!”

Staff Senate Toys for Tots and Food Collection Drive

At the holiday party on Dec. 16, the Staff Senate collected food that filled 26 boxes and toys that filled 21 boxes. The toys went to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, and the food was donated to New Hope Housing Inc., which provides shelter for homeless families and individuals.

According to Josh Cantor, director of Parking Services, about 70 people took advantage of the offer to have their parking ticket cost reduced by bringing in a toy or food item for the drive. Cantor says about 30 toys and 500 cans or boxes of food were collected at the Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William Campuses.

The Staff Senate would like to recognize the following people who assisted in the drive: Nancy Herring, housekeeping manager, and Marti Myers, housekeeping director, who provided all the boxes, assembled them, picked up the food and delivered it; Cantor and his staff for delivering the food and toys collected at their offices; and John Thornell, coordinator and commander for the Loudoun County Detachment of the Marine Corps League, and his helpers who picked up the toys.

Mason Staff Senate “elves” who collected donations and packed boxes were: Andy McDonald, Michelle Carr, Sarah Knapp, Whitney Sublett, Denise Napoliello, K. W. Taylor and Sharon Littley.

Arlington Campus Holiday Food Drive

The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) was selected as the recipient for the campus’ 2008 Holiday Food Drive.

The Arlington Campus contributed 519 lbs of food to AFAC, which provides supplemental groceries to Arlingtonians who cannot afford to purchase all the food they need. All groceries collected will be distributed directly to Arlington families in need.

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