Panthers to donate clothing to homeless

With Illinois’ cold winters, some Eastern student organizations chose to collaborate and organize a clothing drive that will take place throughout the month of January.

“I think that there is a real need in the Charleston area for warm clothing during the winter season,” said Zach Samples, a student senate member. “It’s easy for us as college students to forget that there are homeless people in the town that we live in.”

The “Panthers Care Winter Clothing Drive” was organized by the Student Senate, the Student Community Service, the Residence Hall Association and the Student Volunteer Center.

There will be donation bins located in the Student Activities Center, resident halls, and the Newman Catholic Center. The organizations ask for donations in good condition.

“In high school I organized a similar event, so I went and talked to former (student) senator Victoria Greer, who had done a similar drive at Lakeland, and Kaci Abolt and it went from there,” said Samples, a freshman history major.

Samples said he expects to collect more clothes than the three truckloads he collected in high school.

“I’m hoping we can get quite a bit of clothing,” Samples said. “When I did this in high school we collected three truckloads of clothes in my town of 800 students and 5,000 residents.”

The clothing the community collects will be given to local charities.

“We will be giving them to Catholic charities and PADS,” he said.

Locations like Catholic charities and PADS are where people in need tend to go the most when they are in need, Samples said.

“So it just makes the most sense to donate them there,” Samples said.

Throughout the month of January, there will be three events associated with the clothing drive.

On Jan. 17, there will be an open community drop off located in the parking lot of Lantz Arena.

“It makes the community more involved and makes it more accessible for others,” Samples said.

There will also be an event called, “Close the Court” where community members can bring a winter clothing item to a home basketball game and get in for a lower price. During half time those who brought an item will throw their item on the court.

“It’s our hope that the clothes brought will cover the entire court,” Samples said.

Another event will be the student distribution day, which will take place on Jan. 31. The event will be at the Newman Catholic Center and will allow Eastern students who are in need to be the first to pick up items.

There will however be a limit to how many items a person can take.

“Because we have 12,000 students I have a feeling we will be able to amass a large amount, but if we do deplete our funds by giving it to the students then I would still be happy because we met a need, which was the goal,” he said.

Nike Ogunbodede can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]