Armstrong spreads holiday cheer with donation drives

(Dec. 17, 2013) Throughout November and December, Armstrong students, faculty and staff participated in several donation drives to help make this holiday season a little brighter for those who are less fortunate in the Savannah community.

The Student Government Association collected toys that were presented to the U.S. Marine Corps as part of the annual Toys for Tots campaign, which distributes holiday gifts to needy children in the community.

“I think it's very easy to become focused on yourself while being a college student,” said SGA vice president Joshua Hill. “Doing something that on the surface has no personal gain is something that we need to do.”

This year, Hill organized a screening of the Christmas comedy “Elf,” and asked all attendees to bring one toy. The SGA provided free hot chocolate, candy canes and popcorn. Hill and SGA secretary Reema Patel also set up donation boxes that were placed all around campus. Additional toys were collected through the aid of the Staff Advisory Council at President Linda M. Bleicken's Annual Tree Planting and Holiday Gathering.

The Staff Advisory Council and the Office of Civic Engagement, Orientation and Student Union organized a food drive for Union Mission, an organization that provides vital support to Savannah's homeless community.

“We volunteered at Union Mission during Treasure Savannah and when we saw the pantry, we could tell there was a shortage,” said co-chair of the Staff Advisory Council's special events and outreach committee Shannon Reddick.

Reddick, along with co-chair Peggy Clifton, were so moved by their experience with Union Mission that they began organizing a food drive the evening after Treasure Savannah. They set up 10 boxes across campus, which quickly filled with donations.

“This food will help feed 60 men living at Grace House as well as women and children living at other Union Mission shelters,” said Clifton. “They provide meals for them every day.”

The Staff Advisory Council also organized a donation drive to benefit the Humane Society of Greater Savannah during the annual holiday luncheon for Armstrong staff. Attendees fulfilled many items on the Humane Society's wish list by donating food, toys, towels, grooming and medical supplies and more.

Armstrong Chief of Staff Amy Heaston coordinated with Brenda Webber at Union Mission to bring support to the Angel Tree program. The Union Mission's Angel Tree program allows individuals and businesses to “adopt” a child or a family with the goal of giving each individual one wrapped gift.

“Armstrong is known for its service efforts in the community and this project was just one more way for us to give back to Savannah,” said Heaston.

The Provost Office, Dean's Offices in the College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts, College of Education and College of Science and Technology, Lane Library, Armstrong Liberty Center, the Office of Advancement, the Office of the Vice President of Business and Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Marketing and Communications, the President's Office including Internal Auditor and Legal Affairs, Student Affairs and Sissy Zirpolo from Business Services collectively donated more than 100 gifts.

Whether feeding the homeless, collecting toys for needy children or giving a helping hand to our four-legged companions, Armstrong's commitment to the community knows no bounds. The dedication and contributions of Armstrong's students, faculty and staff helps make Savannah a better place for everyone.