Generous donations benefit SIU students and provide holiday decor
The giving spirit shines bright at Southern Illinois University Carbondale this holiday season. The proof is visible and will be felt throughout the spring semester by Salukis.
Several successful food drives in the last few weeks yielded donations from campus and the community for the Saluki Food Pantry.
During the Thanks “Giving Back” Food Drive on Nov. 28, donors from campus and the area gave 713 nonperishable food items along with $330 to buy food for students who have food insecurity. Donations were also collected at the Fill the Truck event Nov. 18 at the SIU football game, at a tabling event at the Carbondale Kroger store Nov. 17 and during SIU’s Homecoming food drive, bringing in an additional $408 and 1,262 items. Two of the collections were operated by Olivia Stearns of Carterville, Illinois, a graduate assistant for the Saluki Food Pantry who is pursuing her Master of Public Health degree; she was heavily involved with the other two. Including random donations throughout the semester, a total of 2,856 items were given to assure Salukis had sufficient food resources.
In addition, Student Health Services and Saluki Cares staff joined together this month to give supplies and funds for the HEROES Headquarters, incorporating the food pantry and the HEROES store. The store provides personal care items, school materials, household items and linens to students, along with loans of laptops and small appliances and train/flight tickets to reach family.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of our campus and our community,” said Jaime Clark, director of Student Health Services and HEROES liaison. “These donations will help our students to meet their basic needs so they can focus on their studies and succeed.”
Special holiday display
HEROES and Saluki Cares then united collected some $3,000 in donations and funds to assist students and then put their generosity on display in a rather creative way, by transforming canned goods, washcloths, boxes of crackers and other items into a unique holiday display to festoon the Student Health Services and Saluki Cares offices.
Visitors can see Snoopy reclining atop his big red doghouse complete with a wreath above the doggie door, while Woodstock is sliding down a “mountain” of donations on his sled. The Grinch stands guard over a canned goods fireplace in the medical clinic as a scenic wintry scene surrounds another soup can fireplace in the administrative offices. Reindeer stand guard at the “food” gingerbread house in the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office, snowflakes and a flag festoon the pharmacy, and a puppy tree graces the Wellness and Health Promotion Services office.
The special decor will remain in place throughout the holiday season for visitors to enjoy and then be disassembled and taken to the food pantry and HEROES headquarters before students return to campus in January.