Gadsden, Ala.–Faculty and students at Gadsden State Community College have worked hard this year to make the holiday season a little brighter for the less fortunate in our community. The Christmas Showcase, which is held every November in conjunction with the Miss Gadsden State Community College pageant, was the biggest fundraiser that was coordinated by the College and all proceeds from the event were donated to the Salvation Army. A silent and live auction brought in funds totaling $5,204 for the fifteenth annual event.
The Gadsden State Student Nursing Association hosted a Christmas party for children ages 11-18 in two long-term residential units at Mountain View Hospital. The nursing students donated calendars, robes, socks and other gifts. The students used funds from a Student Nursing Association T-shirt sale to purchase gift cards for each child.
Each year in conjunction with various charitable drives, Deb Reynolds, electrical technology instructor, coordinates a coat drive. To date, 152 coats have been donated this year. The donated coats will be distributed to needy Gadsden State students and local mission groups. Reynolds said that she is continually amazed by the outpouring of support and generosity of the Gadsden State family.
Electrical engineering, electronics and industrial maintenance students collected change throughout the holiday season to provide a housewarming present to the new owners of a Habitat for Humanity home that was constructed in conjunction with Gadsden Job Corps, and the Gadsden State carpentry and heating, ventilation and air conditioning departments. The gift included towels, washcloths, coat hangers, laundry bags and a shower curtain.
Three Gadsden State Cherokee employees, Dr. Martha Lavender, Chad Steed and Jill Heishman, participated as members of a fundraising team in the Cherokee County Chapter of the American Red Cross HEROES Campaign. Through a series of fundraising events, the team including Gadsden State members raised $8,400.00, which was the highest total of all teams included in the campaign. The main fundraiser was RIDE for the RED, a charity motorcycle ride through Cherokee County.
Several student clubs and groups actively participated in various community projects. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society collected small toys, outerwear, school supplies, bibles, games and toiletries for children (infants-age 16) during their annual Christmas stocking stuffer event. The stockings were donated to the Salvation Army. The Ayers Campus Student Government Association collected toys and non-perishable items to present to two families they sponsored for Christmas. The Cherokee Campus Student Government Association collected two boxes of canned goods which were donated to the County Baptist Association’s Crisis Center.
The Realtime Reporting Program’s faculty and students spread their holiday spirit around the globe as the group sent nine care packages to United States Special Operations soldier and Wellborn resident, Alex Jarome, and his unit who are stationed in Iraq. The students and faculty have a continuing goal to send the group a package every two weeks during the remainder of their tour. Leah Elkins, court reporting and captioning instructor, said that the group has continued to communicate with Jarome through Facebook. “Alex told the group that talking with all of us makes his time go by faster,” Elkins said. “We are so happy our students have taken time to make a soldier’s holiday away from home easier!”
The faculty and staff helped 20 Gadsden State students and 27 children from the community by donating gifts, gift cards and gas cards to these families. Gadsden State President W. Darryl Harrison remarked, “We are glad to be a positive part of our communities throughout the year. It is even more special during the holidays to reach out to those in need and their families. I am proud of the consistent support our Gadsden State family has shown and pleased that we can make the holidays brighter for many. Gadsden State is committed to improving the lives of area residents both inside and outside the classroom.”