The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR students donate food, clothing to community

By Kirstin Mahon/tr news editor

Students now have at least two easy ways to give back to the community on TR Campus.

Dotted around the campus are student pantry and gLOVE boxes. Anyone can donate new or gently used winter apparel or canned goods that will help fellow students and troubled families in the community. These donation sites are unrelated to each other but equally help those in need.

Both causes originated from TR East Campus faculty. According to administrative assistant Ruth Ann Coleman, faculty members noticed some of their students weren’t eating.

“Basically in order to pay for classes, to stay enrolled, [students] were forgoing even eating because it was just a money issue,” she said. “So they [faculty] thought, ‘Hey, we should have a kind of pantry.’ There are other colleges who do the same sort of thing, so that’s where the idea stemmed.”

Cindy Mask, TREC surgical technology instructor, started the gLOVE organization six years ago on NE Campus. She said wearing gloves in surgery partially inspired the idea, but she also knew that the nursing students enrolled in the 11-month program needed a service learning experience to help them either when they transferred or in their careers.

Collaborations with other faculty members and students helped her decide that SafeHaven, a shelter for battered women and children, would be the place to donate.

“These women have sometimes had to take their kids in the middle of the night,” Mask said.

When these families have to leave their homes, they sometimes don’t have time to gather all the things they might need, Mask said. Something as simple as a pair of gloves or a new hat can go a long way psychologically to help small children who have been through a traumatic experience in their family, she said.

Mask begins collecting donations in the summertime from employers in the community. When the fall semester starts, students can continue to add to the pile with the gLOVE boxes around TR Campus. Mask also encourages anyone to pick up a gLOVE box and use it for donations away from campus.

“Church groups, elementary schools, Boy Scouts — anyone who wants to participate, we give them a box,” Mask said. “They collect donations and then we come pick them up.”

Coleman agrees that community service is important.

“There are a billion reasons why a student might use the pantry,” Coleman said. “We have students who are homeless, who are living in shelters, who have literally said if they didn’t get food from our pantry, then they wouldn’t eat.”

It’s often a choice between staying at a shelter to have lunch or coming to class and working toward their degree, Coleman said. Because these students are choosing to come to class instead, she said the campus needs to support them.

“If you’re hungry, you’re not going to do well in class,” she said.

Mask said she has had two students who have come to her for a donation.

“I say, absolutely. I think it’s awesome that they would even ask,” she said. “Sometimes, you just have to ask.”

The pantry gave away their first donation April 13, Coleman said. Hundreds of other students have used the pantry since April, and it is open to all students.

“We don’t ask questions,” she said.

For more information about gLOVE donations, students can contact Mask at 817-515-2403. For information about using or donating to the student pantry, students can contact Coleman at 817-515-1177.

“We haven’t run out yet,” Coleman said.

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