Cold weather is setting in, but that doesn’t stop the warm feeling of generosity from seeping into Tyler Junior College Art Club student’s hearts. They are working together to donate canned food goods to people in need.
“It’s a neat little yearly project that the Art Club runs every year to gather as much can food and ramen noodles to give to the less fortunate,” said Art Club Mascot Geoffrey Traylor.
Traylor, like many other Art Club members, has helped make the can food drive successful each semester it’s been held. Food is collected from students, art club members, staff, and the Tyler community all through October. Each semester, the food drive ends with around 2,000 items of food stuffed into Art Professor Derrick White’s pickup and dropped off to Tyler Aids Services.
The Art Club has consistently donated around 2,000 items each drive over the last couple of years and, with the holidays quickly approaching, this drive holds even more importance.
“The fall semester is especially important because we try to get the can food drive donation finished and complete so that we can get these items there before November, so that if families want to have Thanksgiving dinner, they can have plenty to choose from,” said Derrick White.
This year’s food drive has already gotten off to a terrific start with several bags of donations from Dr. Linda Gary and Sigma Kappa Delta. School organizations play a major role in the amount of food donated. The Art Club has even gone to the store to buy food from their own funds.
“Sometimes we’ve taken Art Club funds and gone to the grocery store and bought like $500-$600 worth of food,” said White. “When we’ve done that and told Brookshires what we were doing, Brookshires got involved and gave us a $125 dollar gift card. So the community supports it.”
Even with the help from the community and school organizations, the main support for the food drive comes from students. Many students do not have the time for community service or the extra funds to donate large sums of money, but a few canned goods can be a perfect way to give back for them. It is a small sacrifice compared to the large blessing it is for a less fortunate family.
“This is an easy way for college students to give back to the community,” said TJC Art Club member Winford Page.
White has his own special way of encouraging his students to donate and help the less fortunate.
“What I do in my lecture-based Art Appreciation classes is I offer an online test,” said White. “If students bring 10 or more can food items, they get to take their third test online and open notebook. Those who don’t donate have to take the test regular.”
Those interested in donating to the TJC Art Club’s canned food drive can bring any canned or packaged food items to the Jenkins Hall Art Department lobby or can schedule a pick-up by calling (903) 510-2233. The food drive ends Oct. 31.