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Student groups sponsor special events in holiday spirit
12/11/08

Holiday time is bringing out some humanitarian efforts to help needy folks in the Alfred area and abroad. Alfred University Campus organizations and staff members are helping some people have happier holidays.

The Alfred University Outdoor Club is hoping to make a difference for some soldiers this holiday season by participating in a care-package drive for our troops overseas.

“Our drive’s goal is (was) to collect materials travel-size toiletries, small food items, small toys, reading and writing materials,” as well as money to cover shipping costs, said Matt Wendig of the Outdoor Club.

Special soldiers receive these packages. “I get the addresses and names through a program called Any Soldier that gives packages to those military members who don't normally receive mail,” added Wendig.

This endeavor is headed up locally by the Outdoor Club and assisted by AU’s Equestrian Center and the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Wellsville. All students and campus organizations were encouraged to help with their efforts.

News of the event has travelled around the county. H. Scott Spillane, Allegany County’s director of Veteran’s Affairs, became aware of the care-package drive and was very excited that students cared enough to contribute.

“We should be thankful for the support that the Outdoor Club is showing to our service men and women at the holiday time. This shows that college students are supportive of our troops,” said Spillane.

The AU Habit for Humanity student club invited all students, faculty, staff, and families to enjoy a picture with Santa at the Powell Campus Center.

The club accepted donations for additional building supplies for the Spring Blitz during spring break, when members volunteer time to help the cause.
“This is the first year we have tried the Santa event,” said Nick Garofoli, vice president of Habitat for Humanity at AU.

“We're not worried about how much money we raise,” said Garofoli. “It can be hard in Alfred to raise money in a single fundraiser that’s not been established for a long time. This event is about gaining exposure for the club and people will come away from the event with a photo and a memory of Habitat for Humanity being active in the community,” he added.

Alfred University Dining Services also had a successful holiday event with its Giving Back Food Drive. This event collected food at Thanksgiving time. The event collected 445 items that were donated to the Alfred Area Food Pantry.

“A special thanks to all of the Student Affairs Offices for helping with the collection,” said John Dietrich, director of Dining Services at Alfred University.