Think globally. Act locally. Certainly this altruistic concept rang true for BBA+ Weekend Group 26 as they chose their Business in Society service learning project: conducting a Thanksgiving food drive and a Christmas toy drive for needy South Florida families.
To bring some cheer to those most in need during a holiday season made more difficult because of the economic downturn, the students joined forces with AT&T Telecom Pioneers South Florida Council. Telecom Pioneers is the largest industry-related volunteer organization in the world, with chapters located across the United States and Canada.
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“Working closely with Telecom Pioneers, we selected two holiday projects this semester—a Thanksgiving food drive and a Christmas toy drive,” said the project leader, Tammi Calarco, legal assistant, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. “To help others at Thanksgiving, we reached out to our employers and colleagues and collected cash, checks, and non-perishable Thanksgiving foods plus gift cards from Publix supermarkets to create personalized baskets for local families.”
The Thanksgiving baskets were distributed through two charitable organizations—Safe Space of North Dade County and Voices for Children Guardian Ad Litem South Florida. Four organizations—Children’s Home Society of Florida, Mooseheart Charities, Association for Retarded Citizens, and CHARLEE Homes for Children—benefited from the toy drive.
Spirited commitment yields dramatic results.
The Thanksgiving food basket project raised a grand total of $4,783.00 and collected a mountain of food donation boxes.
“This enabled us to feed 189 families and provide an additional 25 gift cards to other families in need,” Calarco said. “The Christmas toy drive was equally successful, with 769 toys collected in the true spirit of the season.”
Cindy Esquivel (BBA ’01), community service chairperson with AT&T Telecom Pioneers South Florida Council, commends the Group 26 effort.
“We hope the success of this project will continue to create awareness for local organizations that are reliant on private donations,” she said. “We wish to continue to strengthen our relationship with the College of Business Administration.”
Esquivel praised Calarco’s leadership skills.
“She motivated her teammates to get the job done. She also inspired 100 percent participation with her employer, collecting $1,440.00 and thirteen boxes of food items for the Thanksgiving baskets,” she said.
The tremendous team effort also impressed Donald Roomes, director, BBA+ program.
“The students worked tirelessly to collect a wide variety of foods donated by their companies, and then they transformed their classroom into a warehouse of neatly stacked items,” Roomes said. “It was a joy to personally witness the team’s cohesion and organized work, and to be a part of this great effort. I am sure that these families were greatly helped because of this accomplishment.”