In 1984 the Alumni Association provided a special ministry touch to students in the form of a fruit basket – care package. In those days the baskets were sent to students in their dorm rooms.
A vision of then Alumni Relations/Church Relations Director Charles ‘Chuck’ McCallum, Jr. This ministry has transformed throughout the years. It was a small band of volunteers delivering Fruit Baskets from van to the dorm room of unsuspecting students that made this act of kindness such a blessing to students. During the stress-filled week of finals this welcomed package reminded students to “hang-in-there” and finish strong on all final projects.
“I remember receiving one in 1984 when I was a student. It was a welcomed gift that partnered with my parents. It was a way to have something from home during very stressful finals week” says Rick Carder. Carder is now the Alumni Relations Director for IWU. “Traditions are celebrated especially with they span thirty years” says Carder.
Now 30 years later the ministry continues with a care package being delivered to student’s post office box. Still in partnership with parents this welcomed gift reminds students that they are cared for and loved by the school and parents.
“Wow! Hard to believe that this ministry that blessed me when I was a student in 1996 continues to bless current students!” says Krista Brown, Church Relations/Alumni Relations Coordinator. Krista manages the program. “Today we call them Survival Kits” adds Krista. “Students likely would survive without them but it is always fun to have a touch from home as we attach a personal note to each kit ordered by parents.”
Over 250 kits are provided free of charge to pastor, missionary, and international students. Donations are welcomed. In fact, as people make contributions of $100 the proceeds benefit the Support Our Student (SOS) Scholarship which helps students with special emergency financial needs. Historically these funds enable additional programming to students in support of our Student Alumni Association, and Senior Send-Off Year-end Celebration to name a few.
Alan Miller, Director of University Relations attends the assembly day providing a devotional for the volunteers. He shared that words matter. Sharing from John 1:1, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Alan shared a few inspiring thoughts that kicked off the assembly of the kits. Alan said in his talk that;
Survival kits may not be the right title for what we do as we assemble the kits. Students will survive if they don’t get a kit. We should call them ‘care packages’ since this is an expression of care for the students.
Miller shared that “Words are wonderful tools as long as you treat them properly. Words and eggs must be handled with care. Once broken they are impossible to repair.”
Associate Vice President Lance Percy attended to thank the volunteers for their participation. He shared a few interesting facts about the assembly. He said to the volunteers;
You will assemble about 900 kits today and give about 100 hours of volunteer hours. The total number of items packaged today will be about 19,800. The recommended daily allowance of calories is about 2,000 but today you will give students a sack of goodies that will total about 3,338 calories.
The ministry of survival kits continues. As students near the end of another semester the Alumni Relations staff and volunteers hope that this effort in some way will encourage students and remind them that they are cared for.