USAO Students Use Books, Food to Reach Underprivileged Children
As a new year started at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, a new project by the Student National Education Association started as well – a food drive to fill the shelves of the Chickasha Emergency Food Pantry.
SNEA held a food drive on campus through Jan. 19. This same group, along with Kappa Delta Pi at USAO, spearheaded the college’s wildly successful charity drive, Books for Tots, in December.
“The food drive was in conjunction with a request from the National Education Association and the Inaugural Committee for President Obama for a small community service project Jan. 17-19 leading up to Inauguration Day and in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day,” said Dr. Jeanne Mather, professor of education and sponsor for SNEA.
“Thanks to the generosity of this campus and community, we collected quite a bit for such a short period of time. We are honored to help those in need in this area,” Mather said.
The food drive comes on the heels of the 13th annual Books For Tots distribution. Books for Tots has provided more than 47,500 books for area children during the Christmas season.
“When we started Books for Tots this year, we knew it would be a struggle. The economy was down, unemployment was up, charitable giving was down, and we had more children in need,” Mather said. “And while our final numbers were down slightly from last year, we still were able to give a new book to 6,110 children and more than 1,200 books were distributed to places like Children’s Hospital, pediatric wards and shelters.”
In Dec. 2007, the organization distributed more than 6,300 new books to Oklahoma children in 14 Oklahoma counties, as well as more than 700 used books to organizations serving children.
“It is truly amazing how the USAO family, service organizations, businesses, public schools and the community came together to make this a success. Books for Tots is only possible through the work of many volunteers. So whether you solicited or made donations; worked or supported fundraisers; or sorted, stuffed, boxed or delivered some of the more than 7,300 books this Christmas, your thoughtfulness is very appreciated,” Mather said.
Although Christmas is 11 months away, Mather said her organization already is gearing up for this year’s big delivery and is receiving donations of new books, gently used books and cash donations throughout the year. Donations may be dropped off in the Business Office on the second floor of Troutt Hall or in the Education Office, Gary Hall 206A.
“Thanks to all who helped Books for Tots strive to live up to its motto of ‘opening minds, hearts, souls and dreams,’” Mather said.