UMaine Community Collecting Food, Clothing, Cash, Books to Help Less Fortunate

University of Maine students, faculty and employees are collecting food, clothing, cash and books to help the less fortunate this holiday season. Dozens of initiatives are under way through November and into December, led by student groups, student-athletes, fraternities and sororities, and academic programs. What follows is a partial list:

The UMaine College of Education and Human Development, in collaboration with the University Bookstore, is accepting donations for its traditional holiday children’s book drive through Nov. 30. New, unwrapped books suitable for toddlers through teens may be dropped off at 151 Shibles Hall or at the Bookstore. The Old Town-Orono Kiwanis Club will collect books, wrap and distribute them at the organization’s annual holiday party for area children, a 35-year partnership with UMaine. In addition, the Bookstore is offering 20 percent discounts on books purchased there for the drive, and for every book purchased and donated, the Bookstore will match the donation.

The University of Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is among the groups collecting for Toys for Tots again this year. Black Bear fans are asked to bring toys to the men’s ice hockey games Nov. 30 or Dec. 1, or to the men’s basketball game Dec. 6. In addition, there is a donations box in Bear Necessities at Alfond Arena. The University of Maine Athletics Department also plans a teddy bear toss during the first intermission at the men’s ice hockey game against Vermont Nov. 30. Fans may bring new or gently used stuffed animals to throw onto the ice.

The Bodwell Center, with Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Pi Beta Phi sorority and other groups on campus, also is collecting toys and gifts in partnership with Crossroads Ministries for its Holiday Sharing Program. Donations can be brought to the Bodwell Center, 311 Memorial Union, or dropped in one of several donation boxes on campus, according to Bodwell Center coordinator Lisa Morin.

In addition, the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity is coordinating its second annual Blue and Gold donation drive to collect in clothing, nonperishable foods and gifts for children. Members have set up trees in the Memorial Union that various campus groups are decorating, and then filling nearby boxes with nonperishable goods. This year, the organization is working with the Salvation Army. For additional information, contact Elek Pew,

The offices of Student Records, Student Financial Aid and Student Employment are holding a food drive from Friday, Nov. 30 through Friday, Dec. 21. Canned and nonperishable foods will go to the Manna Ministries Food Pantry. Donations can be dropped off 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday, 100 Wingate Hall beginning Nov. 30. For information, contact Daniel Lamson, 207.581.1308, or Meredith Lee, 207.581.1336.

U.S. military troops will be the beneficiaries of a holiday cards and letters project coordinated by the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, students from communication and journalism professor Claire Sullivan’s CMJ 345 class, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Students, faculty and staff through Dec. 1 are writing cards and letters of thanks to soldiers and their families to be sent through a clearinghouse by the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes. Information, including requirements for overseas mail, is available by calling the Bodwell Center, 207.581.3091.

Through funds collected from its “jeans Fridays” and internal fundraising, the University of Maine Alumni Association is donating $500 to Ann’s House shelter for women and children in Bangor and $250 to the Good Samaritan Agency for pregnant women and teens in Bangor this month. The association is designating a different local charity to support each month with help from the university community. In December, the association will collect items and cash donations for Star Bright Animal Rescue in Glenburn. Donations can be dropped off at the Buchanan Alumni House. For information, contact Betty-Jo Watt, 207.581.1217.

Students in a Maine Business School (MBS) class taught by Martha Broderick, senior lecturer of business and commercial law, and MBS Corps student volunteers have contributed more than 150 cans and boxes to the Bodwell Center’s Black Bear Exchange food pantry in Estabrooke Hall this month to help members of the campus and outside communities in need of food assistance. Some students contributed cash to help UMaine students who are running out of funds and food, according to Broderick. Students in Broderick’s classes have been collecting food donations for other local cupboards every semester for more than 15 years, and this year is donating through the Bodwell Center.

The School of Biology and Ecology has raised money and is collecting food for Crossroads Ministries in Old Town, gently used outerwear for the Bangor Homeless Shelters and Services for the Needy, and beginning Dec. 3, holiday gift donations, according to Susan Anderson, administrative associate in the school.

Earlier, the Kappa Sigma fraternity raised more than $500 through its gently used jackets, coats, hoodies and sweaters sale to benefit the Fisher House Foundation, which provides temporary housing for families of veterans hospitalized due to illness, disease or injury, according to member Jonathan Carney.

UMaine’s Classified Employees Advisory Council, in conjunction with the UMaine Student Athletic Advisory Committee and the Bodwell Center, also collected $75 worth of food and $550 in cash during their annual “Stuff the Bus” project Homecoming Weekend to benefit the Black Bear Exchange.

And students rolled up their sleeves in mid-November for an American Red Cross blood drive at the New Balance Student Recreation Center, organized by the Bodwell Center.

Contact: Lisa Morin, 207.581.4194 or George Manlove, 207.581.3756