Students and employees of Johnston Community College are generously giving back to the community this holiday season.
Since October, numerous groups on campus initiated and coordinated drives to collect food, clothes, and toys for those in need to show the true spirit of helping others.
Through the college's campus ministries program, JCC has participated in Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child, a campaign to bring special gifts to young girls and boys in need worldwide in a simple shoebox. This year, the college filled more than 200 shoeboxes, more than 140 of which were donated by one student, Jennifer Pate, and her family.
The Student Government Association, TRiO students, student ambassadors, and the Rotaract Club of JCC collected all the trimmings and provided a Thanksgiving meal for nearly 60 families in the community.
TRiO staff and students packed over four boxes of care packages to send to active duty military stationed overseas for Christmas. The children in the JCC Child Development Center made cards that will be sent as well.
The basic skills program at JCC held a toy, blanket, and coat drive to benefit students currently enrolled in their program. Thanks to generous donations from the college and J & M Auction, the group was able to serve 55 children from 28 families.
Michelle and Jimmy Jones, owners of J & M Auction of Smithfield, and their employees donated toys for the drive. "We are so blessed to have been a part of this, all of us in our auction family," Jones said as she watched the students receive their wrapped gifts.
Students in the National Technical Honor Society, the Paralegal Club, and student ambassadors collected two carloads full of non-perishables to support the Backpack Buddies program at Micro/Pine Level Elementary School. They also collected blankets and donated them to Harbor, the local shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Derrick Arnold, coordinator of student athletics and engagement, oversees student clubs at JCC. He said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and participation in the collection drives by JCC students and employees.
"The results were absolutely awesome," Arnold said. "Community outreach is such an important part of leadership, and I am just JCC proud that so many of our students and employees were willing to give of their time and resources to make the holiday season special for those in need. We look forward to even greater success next year."