Story Three

Student Group Lends a Helping Hand to Salvation Army

 

A group of University of Tennessee students gather to volunteer at the Salvation Army.

(Knoxville, TN)- Members of UT’s NAACP Collegiate Chapter took a moment to lend a helping hand to their fellow man recently. The student based chapter of the larger mother organization, volunteered their efforts and time to spruce up the property and garden surrounding the Salvation Army. The event was a part of their outreach community service operation in which each chapter nationwide is required to participate in some form of community service each month. The group chose this particular site because of its immediate need for help with keeping the grounds and surrounding property up to part. Located in an area of town already riddled with eye sores and inhabited with a large number of homeless citizens, the Salvation Army was the perfect candidate for a friendly helping hand. “When we heard about the need for help with grooming and rectifying the property, we felt it was a great opportunity for us to come out and help,” said community service chairman, Coleman Smith.

“We’ve volunteered at the Salvation Army several times before and it has always been one of our choices whenever there comes a time to carry out our community service initiatives,” said Smith. The day consisted of the students cleaning up the area outside the property and painting the flower pots, tables and blacktops. The students also helped with the garden on the property. They were responsible for pulling up shrubbery and unwanted liter. Many of the students counted the experience as a humbling one considering it was the first time many of them experienced the homeless issue in this particular area of town.

“This has definitely been a humbling experience for me, I kid you not. I was so blind to the fact that many individuals actually have to live like this on a day to day basis,” said UT NAACP member, Janielle Pratcher. “Besides the fact that we’ve come to volunteer our services here at the Salvation Army, I feel like we should find some way to help out with the homeless plague Knoxville is currently experiencing,” expressed Pratcher.  Like Pratcher, many of the other students expressed the need for some type of outreach geared towards the homeless in the near future, but that’s easier said than done. While many would like to help each person who stands in need, the truth of the matter is that thousands of individuals call the streets of Knoxville and it would take the efforts of more than a group of 15 budget based college students. This homeless problem is more than a community issue; it’s a global one and must be addressed as such.

 

By: DeAndre Kelly

August 4, 2013

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