WSSU students wrap for Lifeline Shoebox Ministry

WSSU students wrap for Lifeline  Shoebox Ministry
November 19
00:00 2015
Above: Photos by Todd Luck- Alexandria Turnley holds up a wrapped box.

Dozens of students at Winston-Salem State University spent part of their weekend wrapping boxes that will bring cheer to the elderly and disabled this Christmas.

The wrap party on Friday, Nov. 13, and Saturday, Nov. 14, was for Lifeline Shoebox Ministry, which provides little boxes filled with necessities to those living at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities at Christmas time. Last year the non-profit delivered 550 boxes to 12 facilities filled with shampoo, deodorant, socks, lotion and other personal items.

For the Nov. 13 wrap party, WSSU students took Christmas wrapping paper, which was cut recently at a volunteer party at Salem College, and used it to wrap the boxes and their lids. The items for the box, which the organization is currently collecting, will be packed at a future volunteer event.

Wanda Reid who started the Lifeline Shoebox Ministry in 2008, personally delivers the shoeboxes between Dec. 20-24. She said she gives a box to everyone staying at every facility she visits. She said that since Medicaid only gives those in nursing homes $30 a month for personal expenses, it’s a deeply appreciated gesture.

“It’s about fulfilling a need, but it’s about the love as well,” said Reid.

Senior Alexandria Turnley was among those who spent Friday night wrapping. It’s her fourth year doing the wrapping.

“I keep coming because it feels good to do things for other people and it doesn’t take much of my time,” she said during the three-hour wrap party.

Turnley came this year with the community service group G3 Rams. Last month, she was among students in the group that went to South Carolina shortly after flooding devastated parts of the state. They went for a day, helping clear out flood-damaged homes. Community service is a passion for Turnley who is a sociology major with a minor in political science, who plans to start her own non-profit.   

Though the mood was festive at the wrap party, it comes after a difficult time on campus with the recent shooting death of student Anthony White Jr. during homecoming. Turnley said she felt things were slowly getting back to normal on campus.

“There’s been a very big, to me personally, family vibe on the campus so I think that’s just made that stronger,” she said.

Friday evening was an ideal time to hold the wrap party because some students like Turnley only had one class that day. But for Senior Kenyetta Hardy, it was at the end of a work study that began at 8 a.m. Hardy is a 39-year-old non-traditional student who originally went to WSSU in 1997 but didn’t finish and returned to complete college a few years ago. The mother of three works at Food Lion and has an internship on top of her coursework, but she gladly gave a few hours on Friday night to wrap for Lifeline Shoebox.

She said she first did the wrap last year as a service learning assignment for a class but came back this year out of passion.

“We got in here, we had fun, we fellowshipped, and to know the meaning behind it was just amazing to me, because the items you put in those boxes are things people take for granted,” she said.

The social work major said she plans to return next year to do the wrap party even after she graduates.

Freshman Halvandra McNeill was there with the women’s track team. The elementary education major said the different sports teams at WSSU compete to see who can get the most community service hours. She also has a provost scholarship, which requires community service. So far she’s volunteered at events like a campus clean up and the YWCA’s Zombie Race fundraiser.

“I like to volunteer because as an athlete on the track team, how do we expect the community to support us if we don’t go out and get to know the community?” she said.

The university doesn’t require students to do community service but still has no trouble getting students to volunteer. During the 2014-2015 academic year, they contributed 29,845 volunteer hours.

To donate to Lifeline Shoebox Ministry call 336-546-7015. Collection locations include:

• Mose’  Insurance Agency, Nationwide Insurance, 904 Peters Creek Parkway, 336-723-1174

• Winston-Salem Chronicle Newspaper, 617 N. Liberty St., 336-722-8624

• Unique Insurance, 742 Waughtown St.. 336-785-3882

• Matts Southside Auto, 158 W. Acadia Ave., (336) 721-1111

• Carl H. Russell Sr. Community Center, 3521 Carver School Road, 336-727-2580

The deadline for donations is Dec. 20.

Needed full-size items are:

Q-tips, body powder, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, Vaseline, toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, toothpaste, soap, soap dishes, deodorant, hair grease, socks, washcloths and Kleenex tissue.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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