Several organizations on campus are taking different and unique initiatives to give back this holiday season. Students organized projects ranging from canned food drives to creating cards for residents at a local retirement community or even collecting pajamas and books for children in need.
Marin Tettelbach, a graduate student of the counseling program, organized the Pajama Program that the Graduate Student Association (GSA) is holding on campus.
The Pajama Program is collecting new pajamas and books for children of all ages from Nov. 1 until Dec. 6 to donate to children in need. The drop off locations are Greenwood Library Atrium, the Dining Hall, Hull 141 and Ruffner 128 (Graduate Professional Studies Office).
“I’ve actually had people reach out and say this area (Farmville) kind of needs them so I’m going to see if I can get them (the donated pajamas and books) to come down here but they kind of just donate them in areas of need so foster care systems, homeless shelters…,” said Tettelbach.
The idea of this program was inspired by a project that Tettelbach did when she was a Girl Scout. She wanted to try this unique community service project on Longwood’s campus.
“I never really thought about the whole process of like going to bed and having that comfy pair of PJs that are so warm, especially around this time of year,” said Tettelbach.
According to Tettelbach, Mortar Board is donating books to the program and GSA is hoping to get faculty, greek organizations and the community to support the program.
Tettelbach discussed how the pajama program website, pajamaprogram.org, emphasizes the importance of a good bedtime experience for children.
“Every child goes to bed and they don’t know what tomorrow will bring… I think that it’s important to create that positive bedtime experience, especially with a pair of PJs,” said Tettelbach.
Another organization that participated in a community service project recently is Federation of Student Social Workers (FSSW).
According to Faith Beach, senior social work major and former FSSW president, the organization held Elwood’s Cabinet Food Drive where they collected canned food and hygiene items during a tabling event on Nov. 19 on Brock Commons.
“We required our members to donate either five hygiene items, or five canned items or both” said Beach.
Beach said the event had a great outcome. They were able to completely fill the Elwood’s Cabinet Donations container they were provided with and had enough to fill about three of them, according to Beach.
Since FSSW is a community service based organization, they have at least one service project a semester. The organization requires members to complete 10 community service hours a semester.
“For next semester, we had talked about doing a clothes drive and donating clothes for those who can’t afford clothes for the specific seasons,” said Beach.
The Phi Omicron (undergraduate) and Omega Beta Zeta Chapter (graduate) chapters of Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority, Inc. participated in a community service project called “Feed The Community Thanksgiving Dinner” on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 3-7 p.m.
Other community organizations who participated in the event were Royal Jewelz and Fresh Boyz Club.This was Fresh Boyz Club’s third year putting on the Feed The Community event.
Together, the four organizations fed over 600 people on Saturday, according to Evelyn Cobb, senior and President of the Phi Omicron chapter of Zeta Phi Beta.
The event was held at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites. The meals they served included stuffing, turkey, green beans, cakes and soda. According to Cobb, the leftover food was delivered to various neighborhoods in Farmville.
“Some people don’t have the opportunity to have Thanksgiving just because of different situations like medical reasons or financial reasons so I think it was a way to bring the community together as well as provide meals for people who need them,” said Cobb.
Cobb said she hopes more of Longwood will participate in the future so that the event can be even more successful.
“It’s a really great experience for students to have, just to be able to engage in conversation with people that we’re not surrounded by every day,” said Cobb.
Cobb acknowledged the Feed The Community event as an opportunity to step out of her comfort zone.
“I would say my favorite aspect of the event… is just being able to engage in the Farmville community where I feel like Longwood and Farmville are very separate and not very knowledgeable of each other,” said Cobb.
Another organization who gave back to the community was the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The group partnered with Princeps to create “comfort cards” for residents at the local retirement community, The Woodland.
Students were able to make cards at the Dining Hall from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Nov. 19. Students stopped by the table to hand write and create decorative cards with stickers for the residents on their way to eat lunch.