By Sorayda Rivera
Student Life Editor
Graphic by Molly Swisher
Tyler Junior College’s Presidential Honors program is hosting their second annual campuswide Winter Gear Drive until Nov. 20.
All items collected for this drive will be given to the residents living in the homeless shelter at the Salvation Army in Tyler.
The Salvation Army’s Director of Development Cindy Bell said the need for items is so great, and this year with COVID-19 it’s even greater.
“Lots of people have been disheveled through the Coronavirus,” Bell said. “People locally have lost their jobs, and they can’t make their house payment or their rent payments, they can’t afford to pay their utilities.”
The Winter Gear Drive at TJC began last year with a student thinking of different ways to do more for her community.
Deshona Jernigan, the student who helped organize the drive, said, “I have always shown interest in wanting to do something with the salvation army.”
Bell said the Salvation Army is grateful for TJC doing its part to give back.
“We don’t ourselves hold any sort of drives like that but with wonderful partners like TJC and others in the community, they can do the drive for us, and then we are the beneficiaries,” Bell said.
Jernigan said they are trying to make the Winter Gear Drive an annual event since they already have an established connection with the Salvation Army.
“Last year it was a pretty good turnout for it to be kind of small and not too many people knew about it,” Jernigan said.
Even amid a pandemic, Jernigan said student involvement and those helping out with the drive is significantly more than it was last year.
For students who have the, “why should I mentality,” Jernigan explains there are less fortunate people out there if you can give back, give back, in some way, shape or form.
“You never know like those pair of gloves might just impact someone’s life that just doesn’t have them,” Jernigan said.
Bell shared the story of a woman who reached out to her asking her for Christmas assistance.
She said she had three young children and that “things are so tight in her household that they could hardly breathe.”
Jernigan is hopeful they will have a bigger turnout this year as far as donations are concerned.
“Last year, we only had five people. This year we have 20 people that have come to help us, to start up the process. We have started divvying up jobs for everyone to do, to keep it organized,” Jernigan said.
This year the Presidential Honor students made sure the campus community was aware of the drive.
“Unlike last year, this year we emailed and spoke with some faculty to let them know more about the drive and hopefully, they will get more involved than they were last year,” Jernigan said.
Items can be dropped off whenever because there are no specific drop-off times.
Jernigan wants everyone to remember there are less fortunate people who may not have much and this can really affect them and impact them in such a good way, just go out and help.
Bell said she encourages everyone at TJC to really think of others at this time.
“Maybe instead of having that cup of coffee midafternoon, instead the money that might go for something like that on yourself, maybe that money could be used to help others in need,” Bell said.
The items requested for donation are scarves, socks, gloves/mittens, blankets, hats. Donated items need to be new, not used.
Drop-off locations include the Honors Lounge on the third floor of Rogers Student Center, the front desk of Vaughn Library; Wise Cultural Arts Lobby; the Jenkins Dean’s Office, Room 155; Phi Theta Kappa office in Pirtle, Room 220; and the Art Club in the Jenkins Art Lobby.
For more information about the drive, contact Coordinator of the Presidential Honors Program April Long at 903-510-2895, or visit the Honors Lounge on the third floor of Rogers Student Center.