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Stetson students, faculty, staff share

Stetson Shares-redSince Homecoming Week, Nov. 3-10, Stetson University Hatters have touched countless lives in the local communities surrounding the university’s DeLand campus.

As part of this year’s Homecoming activities, and in preparation for the season of giving, student organizations conducted several competitive campaigns to donate non-perishable items that would be donated to local families and non-profit organizations for Thanksgiving. Some of the places that received these donations included the Children’s Home Society, Domestic Abuse Council, Neighborhood Center, Family Renew and La Plaza Communitaria. While it started out to be yet another competition for students to receive points, it exceeded far beyond that. Staff, faculty, and other students dug deep and donated 40 Thanksgiving meals (each meal fed 10 people), plus close to 1,000 cans of fruits, vegetables, soups, etc., and countless other non-perishable foods went to local families in need, not just for the competition, but because Hatters wanted to help others who needed help.

“The entire Center for Community Engagement office was filled with paper bags full of Thanksgiving meals and other non-perishable foods,” said Heather Hamilton, part-time community organizer coordinator with Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement. “Everyone who came through literally had to create a path just to get to the printer, or a desk and even out of the door!”

At this year’s Quality of Service Council’s Annual Holiday Luncheon, $827 was raised for Students Reach Out, selected as this year’s charitable organization to receive Stetson’s sponsorship and assistance. The program was founded in 1991 by Tom Hoffman, the father of Lisa Hoffman, administrative specialist in the Registrar’s Office, who nominated the organization for sponsorship.

“With the help of the Stetson community,” said Jackee Rodriguez, current chair of the Quality of Service Council, “the donations we contributed helped approximately 110 children this holiday season.” Located in DeBary, Students Reach Out serves 15-20 schools in West Volusia that participate in the organization. Families are referred to the program through the guidance counselors at the schools.  To date, Students Reach Out has helped more than 60,000 people locally and has been able to provide well over 500,000 meals to families in need.

The Quality of Service Council was formed in 1988 to serve as a catalyst within the Stetson community to promote communication and courteous service, to improve internal interactions and to serve as a channel of communication between departments and among individual staff members. The Council promotes a sense of community by providing opportunities for social interaction and employee recognition. It achieves its purpose through dissemination of information, training programs and Stetson employee events.

“It’s great to know that so many Hatters take to heart the value of social justice and community engagement that Stetson University was founded on,” said Hamilton. “Thanks to all of you who stepped up to the plate this year! We couldn’t have done it without you!”