Thanks & giving: not just a holiday

Volunteering provides way to learn cooperation and teamwork for a greater cause. Photo by Sarah Jaber.

By Andreana Holowatyj

Staff Writer

The season of charity events, toy drives and food pantry collections is generally associated with the winter holidays. Along with lights and decorations, it is traditional to hear commercials about food collections and pantries in November and see dedicated volunteers ring Salvation Army bells outside of stores in December. This idea leaves a question lingering: what about the other ten months in the year?

People suffer from hunger and starvation; others lose their incomes as the economy struggles to turn around. These events tragically happen on a daily basis. Thus a second question arises: what can one do to help?

Small towns and stores that maintain regular donation collections, work to keep homeless shelters stocked and pack soup kitchens with gracious volunteers. Any small act of kindness multiplies in magnitude when directed towards others, and such acts are occurring on campus.

Stemming from a course assignment, several Benedictine students have joined efforts with a Naperville establishment to organize a Clothing Closet. The goal is to collect gently used shirts, shorts, sweatpants, socks and shoes that would be donated to the less fortunate around the community. From now through March 25th, the Benedictine community is encouraged to drop off applicable items to collection boxes that are found around campus.

Acts of kindness are not just started by current students; alumni are making an impact as well. With the arrival of Saint Patrick’s Day comes the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation Event, where participates shave their heads to raise money for childhood cancer research. Benedictine alumnus Veeral Vyas recently became one of the 31,999 “shavees” nation-wide to participate in the event this year.

When asked about his impetus for fundraising this charity, he explained, “In high school there was a teacher whose child was affected by cancer. In time, I heard about this event and considered it a small way to give back, because when someone is diagnosed with cancer, it is no one’s fault, least of all that of an innocent child. It is the least I can do to raise awareness and monies to help advance future cures.”

He ended his explanation with some moving words by saying, “It’s just simply the right thing to do.”

With all these other students raising awareness and involvement for worthy causes, how can other students contribute? To help further cancer research and the cause Vyas supports, there is still time to donate through his site: For the Clothing Closet, just rummage through personal wardrobes and select items that could be given a new home.  Put them together and simply find a donation box on campus!

No matter the cause, any effort for charity is notable and appreciated. Saying thanks and giving to others is not just reserved for the holiday associated with turkey and Pilgrims. Its significance and meaning stays true all year ‘round.