Season of Giving
UMKC community finds many ways to give back to the Kansas City community
Whether they're holding food drives, raising money for charity or volunteering at free health clinics, the faculty, staff and students at UMKC are consistently recognized for an "above-and-beyond" commitment to community service. Following are just a few of the ways the UMKC community are working to help our neighbors during the holiday season and all year long:
UMKC Advancement's "Home for the Holidays" program pairs UMKC alumni and retirees with international students so they can experience American holiday traditions. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, 29 students will join 16 hosts for a meal or a holiday party. Some hosts will entertain two to four students. For more information, visit http://www.umkc.edu/isao/hh/.
Administrative Services and School of Graduate Studies
Instead of exchanging presents, Administrative Services and the School of Graduate Studies provided funds to the Don Bosco Center. The Center distributes food and gifts to families in the Northeast area of Kansas City.
This year, the Bloch School collected money for the City Union Mission as their holiday philanthropy.
Conservatory of Music and Dance
The Conservatory of Music and Dance recently presented two highly-successful artistic and educational choral benefit concerts. On Oct. 17, generous concert-goers donated $1,300 to Komen for the Cure. The audience at the second concert contributed $1,250 to Harvesters Food Network.
Then, at the "Season for Giving" concert on Nov. 30, Conservatory faculty, staff and students collected additional money and canned goods. This was the 8th year that the concert benefitted Harvesters Community Food Network.
To "purchase" a seat in the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the KC Musical Club gave performances featuring the Conservatory Brass Quintet and two Conservatory alumni, Janet Fetterman and Jerry Pope.
Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Order of Omega, a campus leadership honor society for fraternity and sorority members, collected more than 40 toys for Kansas City children. UMKC's chapter, Pi Gamma, has more than 20 members.
UMKC's Panhellenic Council, the governing council for four of UMKC's sororities, hosted a Dodge Ball tournament on Dec. 3 in Swinney Recreation Center to raise money for Special Olympics. The tournament was open to any Greek group from UMKC or Rockhurst University. Special Olympics was selected to honor Alpha Sigma Alpha, UMKC's newest sorority, because it is their national philanthropy. The Panhellenic Council raised just over $300 for Special Olympics.
At Harvesters, Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership honor society, filled "BackSnack" packs that low-income household children take home from school on Fridays. The backpacks provide weekend lunches for the children. ODK students loaded two pallets of "snack packs," or about 500 weekend meals.
Miller Nichols Library
The Miller Nichols Library staff is collecting for a Harvesters food drive at their holiday party, and will accept donations any time from Tuesday, Dec. 14 to Tuesday, Dec. 21. Drop-off bins are located at the entrance of Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st St.
As she has for many years, one Library Information Specialist is knitting blankets for Project Warmth. She already has begun some of her knitting projects for next year's drive.
To mark his 40th birthday, one staff member conducted a virtual food drive for Harvesters earlier in the year. The goal was to raise enough money for 4,000 meals. His group of Facebook friends helped him surpass that goal on the first day, and by the end of the week, they had enough money for more than 8,000 meals.
One UMKC retiree helps with a toy drive at his church and volunteers for Kansas City's Restart Program.
School of Computing and Engineering
Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society, collected canned food.
One person from the School of Computing and Engineering prepares and serves meals to ReStart residents throughout the year. The food preparation and gathering clothing, gifts and supplies needed at ReStart, are done through his church.
School of Dentistry
The School of Dentistry participates in the Salvation Army Christmas Angels project every year. Faculty, staff and students chose 35 angels, each with a written gift request, and purchased the desired gifts. Dentistry also operates collection barrels for Toys for Tots and Harvesters.
School of Education
School of Education faculty and staff recommended soliciting donations for the Salvation Army. "Our Kansas City Salvation Army offers social services, shelter, and disaster relief to those in the urban core, and we feel this is a deserving charity for everything they do for our community," said Dean Wanda Blanchett.
School of Law
As it has for several years, the School of Law is sponsoring a family through Operation Breakthrough. Faculty, staff and students purchase items on the wish list and gather donations to cover other expenses. This year’s family, caring for six children ranging in age from nine months to six years, requested winter clothing, underwear and learning toys like puzzles and art supplies. Selected items and gift cards will be taken to Operation Breakthrough for delivery.
The School of Law also is involved with Christmas in October. Throughout the year, they occasionally provide funds to help someone in the community.
School of Nursing
Continuing the tradition, the School of Nursing collects items for Operation Breakthrough.
School of Pharmacy
Since 2004, the School of Pharmacy has adopted a family through the Don Bosco Center. In addition, since 2007, they have worked with Heifer International to purchase livestock for a needy family elsewhere in the world.
The Women's Soccer Team volunteered at Harvesters in November, and the Volleyball Team taught the game to a group of Vietnamese children. UMKC's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) began their fall community service in November by collecting cans and donations for Harvesters. SAAC collected enough food – almost 600 pounds – and money to provide 1,500 meals for the hungry. The collection was done before the UMKC – Truman State men's basketball game.
On Nov. 30, UMKC student-athletes, in conjunction with the SAAC, made holiday cards for distribution to area hospitals and nursing homes, in hopes of brightening spirits during the holidays. More than 70 student-athletes took part, turning out nearly 200 handmade holiday cards.
SAAC will participate in The Summit League Food Fight and will volunteer again at the 29th annual Children's TLC Groundhog Day Run.