"Cover Bloomington" volunteers assist at Interfaith Winter Shelter on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The event. Over 120 volunteers turned out to participate in the FASE (Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence) Advisory Board's "Cover Bloomington" project on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Mon., Jan. 20, 2014). Participants performed various tasks to assist the Interfaith Winter Shelter at First United Church (2420 E. 3rd St., Bloomington) in providing a safe, warm space for members of the homeless community in Bloomington. This included assembling sleeping cots and preparing a warm meal. The FASE Advisory Board in collaboration with the 21st Century Scholars Corps provided long-sleeved t-shirts, gloves, and socks to be distributed to the homeless who attended the shelter on Jan. 20 in order to aid each one in staying warm throughout the cold winter months. Any remaining items will continue to be distributed throughout the 40 Days of Peace.  In addition, "Community Care Kits," consisting of toiletry and personal hygiene items, were assembled to distribute to homeless citizens. Volunteers also canvased Bloomington, collecting canned goods for the Community Kitchen.

The volunteers. Event coordinators wrote that they had a fantastic group for our Cover Bloomington Project. All of the volunteers were hardworking and very efficient. Regardless of what they were asked to do, they completed each task quickly and with a great attitude. The high quality of the volunteers not only allowed for the complete setup of the Interfaith Winter Shelter, but everyone was able to take part in the can drive. In total, participants collected nearly 1000 non-perishable food items! These items were split between First United Church (the event host), the Community Kitchen, and Mother Hubbard's Cupboard. Team leaders expressed pride in the volunteers and all that they were able to accomplish to help the homeless and less fortunate of Bloomington.

Testimonials. One of the volunteers told about a woman met during the can drive. Initially, the woman brushed off the volunteers, but through a peace sign decoration she had, they were able to talk about the project and Dr. King. Many of the volunteers were not previously aware that Bloomington had homeless shelters such as the Interfaith Winter Shelter, but several stated that they planned to volunteer with the shelter on their own. Volunteers also said that they were more grateful for their own situations seeing the small things that those who are homeless do not have on a daily basis.


FASE Peer Mentors sign in volunteers to help with the Interfaith Winter Shelter at First United Church.
FASE Peer Mentors sign in volunteers to help with the Interfaith Winter Shelter at First United Church.
Student leaders provide instructions to volunteer participants.
Student leaders provide instructions to volunteer participants.
Student volunteers gather for instructions.
Volunteers receive instructions. Over 120 students participated!
Student volunteers assemble
Students assemble "Community Care Kits" to be distributed to the homeless. The kits contained toothpaste/brush, deodorant, hand sanitizer, and other items essential for personal care.
Volunteers return with their collected can goods.
Volunteers return with their collected can goods. Over 1000 cans of food were collected and distributed to the Community Kitchen and Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.
bags of personal care products
Assembled "Community Care Kits."
Volunteers prepared meals and other baked goodies for the shelter residents.
Volunteers prepared meals and other baked goodies for the shelter residents.
Sleeping area at shelter
Volunteers prepared the sleeping area for shelter residents.