With the Thanksgiving around the corner, Temple is helping several area churches and community organizations give back to those who need assistance during the holiday season.
Captain Eileen Bradley, project coordinator for Campus Safety Services, and Andrea Swan, the director of community and neighborhood affairs are two university administrators heavily involved in giving back to the community.
Swan helps four student organizations mobilize and engage inn community service. She is the staff adviser for the Temple University Community Service Association, the National Council of Negro Women, heads the Residential Organization for Community Service Living Learning Community and is also involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters.
She said one of the most positive things about Temple is the amount of service work opportunities.
“One of the really amazing things about Temple is that almost everywhere you turn there is outreach,” Swan said. “There are students and staff that are eager and willing to give back.”
Her organizations donate to various churches, and most notably contribute canned food and soup to be given out to those in need by the Berean Presbyterian Church at Broad and Diamond streets.
Her groups continue to work with nonprofit organizations after Thanksgiving, she added.
“For the December holidays, community relations and the student [organizations] I work with will be partnering with Family Friends and Grandma’s Kids,” Swan said.
Bradley has been running a holiday party for local children for the past two decades. It started out as a small event in the Student Center, but has grown to an event with several hundred children, hosted in the Liacouras Center.
“Most of the children at 5 to 12 years of age,” Bradley said. “We started out doing it in the Student Center but now it’s in the Liacouras Center with 300 to 400 kids.”
At the event, there are raffles for tablets, bikes and other toys. The Temple University Black Alumni Association sends books and makes sure every child receives a new book before leaving the party.
Temple’s volleyball, football and the men’s and women’s basketball teams attend the event every year, as well as students from various organizations who volunteer at the party.
The Dec. 6 event is promoted on social media and throughout campus.
“The most important part of the event is that everyone has fun and nobody gets hurt,” Bradley said.
Bradley believes the party helps enhance students’ relationship with the community.
“It’s important for [students] to see part of the North Philadelphia community that is positive,” she said.
Bradley believes the student engagement for this event acts as springboard for other volunteering opportunities at surrounding elementary schools and around North Philadelphia.
Along with the holiday party in December, Temple Police is active around Thanksgiving—they are giving out 120 turkeys in conjunction with community relations and area churches.
Along with Temple Police and community relations, various schools and colleges conduct their own fundraisers and food drives.
The School of Media and Communication is hosting a canned food drive, and other student organizations are also donating food.
Organizations throughout campus aim to continually help the surrounding community throughout the holidays and make sure every family has food on their table and every child gets a gift.
The events surrounding the holidays seek to help improve student relationships with the people living around campus.
“I think this [the holiday party] shows the community that the students do care,” Bradley said.
Jonathan Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jonnygilbs96.