Goshen College
MCC Photo/Roberta Miller Yoder

Students at Goshen College organized a relief kit drive for MCC in conjunction with the International Student Club Coffeehouse. From left to right: Launa Rohrer (Dean of Students), Jill Steinmetz (junior), Rachaelann Klink (first-year) and Sophia Martin (first-year).

College students have a lot of activities pulling for their time and attention, but two groups of young adults recently participated in kit packing events for MCC.

At Goshen College, Student Senate held an event between the international dinner and the International Student Club Coffeehouse.

Reena Ramos, a third year student from Auburn, Ind., studying environmental science, served as the student organizer. They advertised for the event and asked students, faculty and community members to donate items for kits or money to purchase contents. On the evening of the event, they set up the supplies on long tables to from an assembly line.

“I thought a relief kit making event would not only be fun for people, but also educate them on the devastating issues occurring around the world,” said Ramos. “Donating supplies and making kits to help other people is also more satisfying than spending money or time on something else.”

Ten volunteers helped to organize supplies and guide people through the process. Another 20-30 helped assemble the kits, along with the many folks who donated money or supplies. In addition to the kit items brought in, students raised money through a raffle and donated profits from the ticket sales to MCC’s work in Syria.

“I feel like a lot of people in the United States are very sheltered,” said Ramos. “If young people start to get involved, maybe we can begin to educate ourselves on these disasters, and respond by supporting those in disaster stricken areas.”

For Wooster Mennonite Church in Wooster, Ohio, members of the outreach team were also interested in connecting with young adults at the College of Wooster, located a few blocks from their church building. So they planned a service day that would bring together college students and church members.

“Wooster students are our neighbors, but sometimes there aren't natural ways for students to interact with community members off campus,” said Paul Seling, a member of the outreach team who also works in the Alumni Engagement Office at the college. “This is a way that we could bring student and church members together and offer an opportunity for them to serve together.”

The congregation partnered with Wooster Volunteer Network, a student organization Seling advises, to make the collaboration possible. There were three different stations set up – one to assemble MCC relief kits, one to knot MCC comforters and one to bag dry soup mix for Manna for Many. Congregants set up all the materials and provided a meal, and the WVN recruited the student volunteers as part of their “Service Saturdays” they offer monthly to Wooster students.

“I wanted to be involved in the event because I believe in giving back to the Wooster community and wanted to make connections with the community outside of the college,” said Kate Longo, a third year biochemistry/molecular biology major from LaGrange, Ill. Longo helped to recruit students through her involvement with WVN.

Virgil Troyer, material resources coordinator at MCC Connections in Kidron, shared stories with the group over lunch about how valuable the kits and comforters are to those who receive them.

Liz Martin is part of the outreach team that helped plan the event. “We heard so many reports that they were delighted to hear how the materials are received,” she said. “The students were impressed with how comforters are used for more than just a cover to keep warm in Haiti.”

Wooster Mennonite has continued fostering connections with the 40-plus students who volunteered with them. They made blessing bags for the students with thank you notes and goodies for the students during exam week.

“Mennonites have a long history of service and global engagement, and I think these values are shared by many young adults so it makes for an easy connection,” said Seling.

 

MCC urgently needs relief and hygiene kits. Multiple situations of crisis around the world such as Syria, Iraq and Ukraine have depleted MCC's warehouse inventory. Please help MCC replenish its supply to continue responding to needs around the world. Learn how you can be part of a hands-on project that makes a difference.

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