Volunteers assemble care packages for homeless

Superduper stackers
Kinesiology freshman Hikmat Alli, left, and criminal justice freshman Christina Nguyen advise a student on how to donate clothes at the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus Thursday. (Chaunte Johnson/The State Press)
Published On:
Friday, November 21, 2008
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Students filled Palo Verde Beach in Tempe Thursday afternoon with handfuls of toothpaste, soap and toothbrushes.

But they weren’t practicing good hygiene — the 15 students were assembling care packages for the homeless.

The Toiletries Assembly Project, part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, was developed by the ASU Community Service Program, Residential Life.

Mina Ahmad, community service program coordinator, said the students made about 200 care packages of toiletries: 100 for men and 100 for women.

“We have collected several donated items including razors, shampoo and body spray,” Ahmad said. “The packages also included toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap, along with an individualized message from an ASU student.”

The packages are being donated to the Shower Program in Tempe, which opens its doors for homeless individuals to take showers on Mondays and Fridays, she said. The program is sponsored by Tempe First United Methodist Church and held in the Baker Center.

Ahmad said this is the first time ASU has had an event to assemble packages for the homeless, but the Community Service Program always sets up something for the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

“We often host events in the residential neighborhoods for students who want to give back to their communities but may not have time to dedicate a Saturday or evening to service,” Ahmad said.

It’s important for students who live on the Tempe campus to understand the impact they can have on their surrounding community, she said.

“We hope that through this project, students will become more aware of issues of homelessness in their community and strive to make a difference in any way they can,” Ahmad said.

Kinesiology freshman Tara Herbert said she enjoyed helping out because she likes meeting new people and thought it would be a good opportunity to earn more community service hours for her scholarship.

“It was pretty fun,” she said. “We got to write little thank-you notes and make little packages.”

Dietetics freshman Alex Worley said he also wanted to meet new people and earn hours for his scholarship.

“It’s something different to do,” he said.

The project was supposed to go from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. but so many people showed up to help that it went faster than expected, Worley said.

Ahmad said the program’s goal is to make students aware that doing community service is easier than they think.

“It can be as easy as writing a letter to the troops, giving blood or stuffing envelopes,” Ahmad said. “Making a difference in another person’s life can occur on the way to your next class.”

Reach the reporter at charlsy.panzino@asu.edu.