By Alexander Smith, Staff Writer-
This Valentine’s Day, the University celebrated the day of love by giving to the community of Chattanooga with a food drive.
To show love to our neighbors, donations will be distributed among the homeless camps in the Chattanooga area.
The director of the Office of Sustainability, Lisa Darger got the idea to engage students from a friend.
“I have a friend who cooks large batches of food and packages it individually,” Darger said. “Her next planned trip was February 14th, so the idea to engage students for a ‘Sustainable Love’ drive was born.”
The Office of Sustainability asked for donated materials such as blankets, clothes, food and water, hygienic items for men and women as well as first aid items such as bandages, chapstick, and medicine.
The donations were collected from Feb. 8-13 at the University Administration building at 400 Palmetto St. and at the University Center on Feb. 11.
The UTC Sustainability Center distributed two truckloads of donations to the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. Large items went to the CCK and smaller items were given to the CHC to prepare individual packages.
Sustainability Center Coordinator, Lisa Darger explained how she and Wendy White of the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition felt about the turnout of donations this year.
“Ms. White did say that despite tough times people are experiencing, they have not seen a drop in donations. So it says a lot about our community that so many have stepped up to serve those less fortunate,” Darger said. “I am so moved by our UTC family, as well. We delivered over 50 large bags of donations. So we will definitely partner with these organizations again, and work to target specific needs.”
Along with the Chattanooga community, UTC has faced a hard time in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Working together has given the city and university a great opportunity to succeed with events such as the donation drive.
UTC Sustainability Program Assistant and environmental science major, Sara Smith led the collection effort in the UC.
Smith spoke about the University’s cooperation with the homeless advocacy community in town and added that any items were accepted, not just those on the list.
“It is also important to point out that this is not the only opportunity to help out, on or off campus,” Smith said.
Organizations such as Chattanooga Community Kitchen, Chattanooga Homeless Coalition, and the Salvation Army across from campus are always a great place to donate and give back to the community.