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Campus Groups Donate Food to Area Charities PDF Print E-mail
Friday, December 04, 2009
Contact Van Arnold, 601.266.5568   

Several University of Southern Mississippi organizations teamed up to make the 2009 “Let’s SAAC Hunger” campaign an
appetizing success for two Pine Belt area charities.

The Southern Miss “Let’s SAAC Hunger” project sprang from a Conference USA initiative that began in 2007 whereby affiliated universities would hold a week-long canned food drive. This year’s tally saw Southern Miss groups collect 7,202 pounds of food that was donated to Christian Services Inc., and Edwards Street Fellowship Center in Hattiesburg.

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Office of Community Service Learning (OCSL) served as the primary sponsors for the campaign with assistance from Recreational Sports, Residence Hall Association, Greek Life and several College of Business students.

“The drive gives us an opportunity to serve our community,” said Kelley Rooney, SACC president. “I think often we see and hear about people struggling all over the world and forget that we don’t have to go anywhere to find people in need. As athletes, being able to recognize that need right here in Hattiesburg is so vital. It is important to give back to the community that supports us so strongly.”

The canned food drive was held Nov. 16-21, culminating in massive donations made at the Southern Miss-Tulsa football game on Saturday, Nov. 21 in Hattiesburg.

Southern Miss student-athletes collected 1,417.6 pounds of canned goods during the drive. Competition between the varsity teams on campus proved quite close, but the Southern Miss softball team emerged victorious by collecting 22.28 pounds per player for a total of 378.80 pounds.

The “Let’s SAAC Hunger” campaign at Southern Miss has experienced amazing growth since its inception in 2007 which produced 1,150 pounds in donations. In 2008 the number swelled to 3,524 pounds, followed by this year’s whopping 7,202. Campus coordinators have already set a goal of 10,000 pounds for 2010.

“For me, it really put things into perspective when one of our students said to me, ‘Ms. Lauren, I’ve known what it’s like to be hungry before, so I don’t mind giving back at all. I’m happy to.’ This really made things real for me; it made it personal,” said Lauren Hillman, academic counselor in the Student Academic Enhancement Program at Southern Miss.

“We are happy to have been a part of Southern Miss and the Hattiesburg community coming together and giving back to our own. That’s what life is all about anyway – taking care of family.”

For more information about community service projects at Southern Miss, call 601-266-6467.

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu
                                                                       
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