IN THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON

The pressure of studying for finals and completing research projects and papers isn’t keeping U students, staff and faculty from finding ways to support those in need this holiday season — and showing the U spirit, as these photos show! Here’s a look at the good deeds happening across campus, with information about how you can help.

Keeping kids warm

The Student Council for Exception Children in the College of Education will be collecting new underwear, mittens and gloves to support students at Parkview Elementary. Donations boxes are located on each floor of SAEC. Items will be picked up on Dec. 15, 2017.

Please email sammioreillyallen@gmail.com or campbelltzm@gmail.com for more information.

Holiday drive for The Road Home

The Social Justice Student Initiative and the Women’s Law Caucus are collecting new and gently used items to donate to The Road Home for individuals and families experiencing homelessness this winter. Items needed include: pillows, towels, coats, jackets, warm clothing, socks, underwear, blankets and diapers.

Donations are being accepted through Dec. 16, 2017, at drop boxes located in the student area on the second floor of the law school building. More info: sjsi@law.utah.edu.

STEM gifts from the College of Nursing

The College of Nursing has teamed up with the Salt Lake County Housing Authority Youth Program to provide STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) inspired gifts to homeless, low income and refugee children who are part of its after-school programs.

It is really easy to help. To purchase one of the predetermined toys, click here.The deadline is Dec. 11, 2017.

U of U Health Food Drive

Help U of U Health reach its goal of giving 290,000 meals to hungry Utahns during the ninth Annual Holiday Food Drive. Canned goods may be dropped off in designated bins throughout the hospitals and clinics through Dec.11.

Virtual donations and money may be donated by visiting uofuhealth.org/fooddrive.

Students feeding students, combating food insecurity at the U

For almost three years, the Feed U Student Pantry has helped the University of Utah campus and community battle against hunger. Since 2014, the Feed U Pantry has provided more than 14,000 pounds of food to those experiencing food insecurity at the U. Food insecurity is a barrier that influences students’ daily lives and their academic journey. The Feed U Pantry is devoted to providing reliable access to food so that all students can focus on their classes, assignments and, ultimately, graduation day.

To help support the pantry with a gift please visit the Feed U giving page.

Read the full story here.

Food for Families and Furry Friends

The College of Pharmacy held the first annual Pharmacy Food for Families and Furry Friends Food Drive this fall, collecting more than 50 pounds of food for the Utah Food Bank and more than 20 pounds of pet food for the West Valley Animal Shelter. The drive helps both people and animals have a happy holiday.

The college encouraged participation by offering one ticket for a prize drawing for every four cans of food donated.

UPC organized food and service projects

The Union Programming Council organized several events to give back this holiday season. In early November, the council had volunteers attend a sandwich-making event in the Union Food Court. Participants made about 500 sandwiches and delivered them to The Road Home. Cupbop and Waffle Love food trucks were partners for this year’s food drive.

Students received a free lunch when they donated to the food bank.

Student families give back this Thanksgiving

A spirit of service and compassion runs through the U community. Families and students at the University Student Apartments spent the Thanksgiving season serving others.

Residents collected enough food and hygiene items to fill a pickup truck to help stock the University of Utah’s Feed U pantry.

Read the full story here.

CROCHETING PLASTIC BAGS INTO SLEEPING MATS

Plastic bags – the gift that keeps on giving. Or at least that’s what Kaitlin McLean might tell you. Kaitlin is teaching fellow students and community members how to crochet plastic grocery bags into sleeping mats. She found out about the shortage of beds at area homeless shelters and decided to act. Teaming with student athletes, Kaitlin is teaching others how to cut the bags into plastic strips she calls “plarn.” The plarn is crocheted into mats shelters can distribute when they run out of beds indoors. Besides helping people experiencing homelessness stay just a bit warmer and drier this winter, the project also keeps plastic out of local landfills. Kaitlin estimates it takes about 500 bags just to make one mat.

However, she’s not daunted by the numbers. She’s arranged for bag drop off locations at her dorm, the Bennion Center and the Burbridge Center. Production is moving into high gear as more students and community members learn basic crochet skills. You can follow them on Facebook at Bags to Beds.