‘Tis the season of snow, hot cocoa and good cheer—and service.
For many, the holidays are a reminder of what people have to be thankful for. This can inspire planning for donations and holiday service.
Seattle University is no exception to the surge of holiday service projects. Pre-Health Club, led by Nick Chock, organized a drive to collect donations for a project called Shoeboxes of Joy through Catholic Community Services. With donation boxes around campus, Pre-Health Club collected small gifts and necessities for isolated adults around King County.
Citywide, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission is hosting its annual fall campaign called One City/One Hope. With a monetary donation, people can give meals to those who need them.
At Seattle U, many students are also making plans for service trips in sunnier seasons.
Sophomore Keegan Tasker and Senior Kelsey McGarry are leading a spring break trip to New Orleans with Shirts Across America to rebuild houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina nearly ten years ago.
“People who still choose to live there even though they know that there’s a potential for another really massive hurricane stay there because that’s where their family’s from,” Tasker said.
In the duration of a week-long trip, the students cannot see the full results of their service, but make significant impact on rebuilding homes, something Tasker says is still desperately needed after Hurricane Katrina.
“Sometimes I think people forget about it just because it was ten years ago, but there’s still so much that needs to be accomplished in New Orleans,” Tasker said.
Tasker said that summer obligations and winter break holidays make spring break an attractive time for service.
Also, in anticipation of spring break, Seattle University’s Center for Service and Community Engagement is coordinating three local immersion trips to take place during that week.
Dignity, Justice & Work is an immersion in Seattle and Eastern Washington that digs into immigration and labor rights as they pertain to American identity.
The Hunger & Homelessness immersion also takes place in Seattle, tracing the roots of hunger and homelessness as they relate to the community.
The Earth, Air, Water immersion explores sustainable living and environmental justice in the Seattle area.
All of these immersions are locally based as well as focused on the educational process behind the issues. Part of that means pre and post introspection.
“We’re doing something a little different to help keep our participants more engaged,” Ramos said. “We are looking forward to five pre-trip meetings, and what happens at these pre-trip meetings is where you get to explore the basis of social justice before digging into the issue with self during the week of spring break.”
The Center for Service has extended the application deadline for these immersions until Jan. 16.
As the year draws to a close, students are already planning their impact on the world in 2015.
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The holiday season and the buying that often accompanies the holidays—between Black Friday and the gift-giving that has become a social obligation—often brings with it a bit of ill feelings towards corporations and capitalism. Here in Seattle, one local business is contradicting that story by giving back.
Saul Spady, a member of the local Dick’s Drive-In family, is working with the nonprofit Mary’s Place on a campaign called “No Child Sleeps Outside.” The goal of the campaign is to raise $250,000 by the end of the year. Spady told the Seattle Times that if their project meets this goal, Mary’s Place will have enough to provide winter shelter for all the homeless women and children in Seattle.
By Nov. 28, the campaign had already raised $65,000, with support from Dick’s Drive-In and several other local companies and many of the Seattle Seahawks and their families.
According to Mary’s Place, over 550 families in Seattle sleep on the streets each night. The mission of the foundation is “empowering homeless women, children and families to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community.”
For anyone who has been looking for a way to give back this holiday season, the “No Child Sleeps Outside” fundraiser is still accepting donations. It is one piece in the puzzle to provide shelter for all people in Seattle.
Alaina may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lena Beck is a freshman Humanities for Leadership major. She does best with ample access to coffee, and enjoys people-watching from the top of parking garages.