Boxes of Love

4.5.17_Features_Jamie Biggs_Boxes of love_Jamie Biggs2

Jamie Biggs
   Staff Writer

            Oftentimes students find themselves wanting to give back—to devote their time to something charitable as opposed to the daily lull of self-involved classes and work. It can be especially difficult to find opportunity to do so with the busy schedule that accompanies the title of “college student.”

            There is not an abundance of time to search out organizations and events that allow for a charitable kind of contribution. Even having to leave campus can be an inconvenience for some students that would like to serve their community.

            Luckily, on Wednesday, April 5, an event took place on the UNCG campus that allowed for students to contribute a bit of their time to help those less fortunate. ACE, UNCG’s campus and events board, hosted an event in the EUC. Students were invited to stop in and help fill hygiene kits to be given to homeless shelters in the surrounding area.

            ACE advertised the event as Boxes of Love around campus and on their social media pages.

            Inside of the colorful boxes, hygiene essentials such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, socks, shaving cream and razors, and feminine products were loaded into female and male designated hygiene packages.

            The event took place in the Maple room of the EUC building from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Anyone with a Spartan ID card was welcome to enter, swipe their card and devote whatever amount of time they had available that day to helping with the cause.

            Homelessness in Greensboro, while not as rampant as in many other parts of the state or country, is still a serious issue. On any given night, more than 900 people may experience homelessness in Greensboro. According to the Greensboro Day Center’s website, more than 200 of these individuals are children, and a 2011 statistic revealed that over the course of a year, over 4,500 different people will experience homelessness.

            This may seem minor in comparison to the over half a million individuals that are homeless in the entirety of the country. In 2015, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that 564,708 people were homeless in the U.S. on any given night. Of these people, it was estimated that 15 percent of them are “chronically homeless,” meaning they have been and continue to be homeless. While it may be a relief to know that the majority of people are not in a state of chronic homeless, these numbers are still a shock.

            Even more shocking, in 2014, nearly 15,000 of these identified as homeless—over eight percent—were veterans.

            With statistics like these, it’s easy to understand why projects like Boxes of Love exist.

            Curtis Tarver, the associate director of the Campus Activities and Programs board, coordinated the effort at UNCG. Other members of the organization contributed to the production of the project as well.

            In addition to devoting your time for a few minutes or hours, it was also encouraged to drop off hygiene products to include in the boxes, allowing for another manner in which students could give back without having to head far off campus or make special arrangements.

            Those who came to the Maple room to help out found a hard-working, but relaxed, environment of students working together to serve the homeless community of Greensboro. Some students tore open boxes and emptied the hygiene products out onto tables, while others stood and filled the boxes with one of each item. As it was a volunteer effort, all of the students present were eager to help and do their part.

            While Boxes of Love was a great success and will surely benefit the homeless community in Greensboro, there are plenty of other organizations working to fight homelessness in Greensboro. The IRC, Interactive Resource Center, in downtown Greensboro works to provide the less fortunate with daily care such as showers and hygiene products, as well as offering things like case management and a job and education program.

            There are efforts all across Greensboro to help the homeless community. Thanks to charitable individuals at UNCG, Boxes of Love was able to provide individuals going through a tough time with essential products they may have struggled to find otherwise.

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