Giving the Gift of Warmth

A Ferris organization collected winter clothing to be donated to local elementary school children

‘Tis the season for giving, and one Ferris organization upheld that tradition by collecting used clothing and ensuring that local elementary school children would stay warm this holiday season.

The Association of Future Educators and Kappa Delta Pi (AFE/KDP) collected coats, snow pants, mittens, hats, and scarves through the Dump and Run program and then donated the items to area elementary schools.

Robert Breedlove, a senior in the elementary education program and public relations chair of the organization said that they collected over 500 articles of clothing from local schools including Hillcrest, Crossroads, Brookside, Riverview and Eastwood.

The clothes were then laundered and sorted so that each school received items from a different school, which Breedlove called “a kind of sharing of resources between the schools.”

“We were hoping to help students in local schools keep warm this winter if they had no other means to do so,” he said.

Christina Cook, Kappi Delta Pi President, said that the hardest part of the project was washing the clothing. “Members took on the burden of washing all the clothes in their own homes and apartments,” she said.

She said that AFE/KDP first got the idea for the program from Diane Griffin who did a Dump and Run project in the residence halls that spring. Griffin presented the project after wanting to extend the project to area schools.

Griffin said that she first started the Dump and Run program three years ago when she was the AMERICORPS VISTA volunteer at Ferris. She coordinated a modified version of the national Dump and Run.

She said, “We started this project as a way to give back to the youth in our community and to give good items to people who could use them.”

At the end of the previous academic year, Griffin was given an award from the City of Big Rapids for her efforts in the community.
Regarding the project that AFE/KDP undertook, she said that she had worked a lot with the principals at Riverview, Brookside and Crossroads elementary schools where the students put out boxes to collect coats, boots, snowsuits, and other winter gear.

The point of their program was to give clothes to children who needed them and whose families couldn’t afford them, that way they could play outside.
Griffin and Cook look to expand the program in the future and hope to involve more of the Ferris community as well.