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Around Thanksgiving, students donate time, treasure

Monday, November 24, 2008  
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Students at Rockford College know the true meaning of Thanksgiving. They have collected canned goods for the needy, served Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless, and even collected used books for underprivileged school kids.

From building structures made out of canned food to a canned food drive in competition with other colleges in the Northern Athletic Conference (NAC), Rockford College students have stepped up for the community’s most needy.

Lindsay Kent, director of the college’s Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement, a clearinghouse for volunteer activities, says community service is an important part of the college experience.

“We find students gain a lot from their engagement in the community, both from a personal standpoint, and as a way to give meaning to the issues they learn and discuss in class,” she says. 

Both the numbers of items donated and the time put in by students is impressive:
  • The CANstruction competition brought in 1,000 food items for the Rock River Valley Pantry.
  • A can collection drive put on by the athletic department yielded 6,700 cans, tops in the 13-school NAC conference. The items were donated to the Rockford Rescue Mission.
  • A cardboard shelter competition, meant to simulate the conditions in which homeless people live, brought in five bags of clothes for the Carpenter’s Place homeless shelter.
  • Rockford College students served Thanksgiving dinner to more than 120 homeless people at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Rockford. 
And although not specifically timed to coincide with Thanksgiving, Rockford College education major Jennifer Torrence collected more than 1,800 used books in the community and donated them to several Rockford elementary schools last week. 

From projects large and small, involving many or just a few, the spirit of Thanksgiving is truly alive and week at Rockford College.

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