CHRISTMAS FOR CHARITY
BSU’s charity committee members found a way to give back during the holiday.
February 6, 2021
Christmas is the season of lights, snow, treats, carols and festivities. However, the real meaning of Christmas is to give and spread joy to those who need it. In early November, Suncoast’s Black Student Union members took the time to plan out what contributions they wanted to give to the community. BSU is an organization composed of students at Suncoast to spread awareness of African American culture. In this rebuilding year, members are very focused on ensuring that the community understands that BSU and the Black Diaspora is much more than their annual food event held every February. Given this reason, members stepped up to make a change.
Many great ideas came to mind, but BSU members decided on one idea that they thought would have the most impact. The group agreed to create holiday gift baskets filled with daily essential hygiene products and nonperishable food items. They recognize that not a lot of families can afford these items due to loss of income and unemployment from COVID-19.
After several weeks of planning and organizing, members wanted to give the gift baskets to a local organization that is known for helping families. BSU’s supervisor, Clarence Walker directed the group to meet on December 18 in the Charger Commons library after school to get started. They all separated into groups to work on individual parts of the basket. One group took baskets and filled them with toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, socks and hand sanitizer. To add a little Christmas cheer, the second group added candy canes, toys, stuffed animals and mini tote bags. The baskets were placed in gift wrapping and tied in a Christmas ribbon, ready for delivery. Once the bags were ready to go, members drove to the Urban League of Palm Beach County Offices. The Urban League’s mission is to serve less fortunate families and help them achieve economic and social equality. They were elated to see the effort made into making the baskets and were very grateful for them.
The event gave new BSU members a chance to get involved at school. For Freshman Jazmine Bozeman, it was her second time being on campus. After the event, Bozeman stated, “Christmas event was an amazing experience for me by just helping out people who couldn’t afford this themselves. Being in BSU is also a wonderful experience for me because it helped me to know about the things happening to African Americans. The club also provides me with information about my race that I didn’t know.”
For freshman Jenilee Joseph, she expressed that “helping the less fortunate was honestly refreshing. I overall loved the experience and felt welcomed by the other members of BSU. I’d definitely love to help again. As a freshman, I just want to be involved and BSU is definitely a very hands on club.”
One of the subcommittee charity leaders, senior Emily Ayala also helped with putting this project to life. Ayala voiced that, “Planning an event like the Christmas baskets did take a lot of time and hard work, not to mention people who helped and supported the event. A big aspect of our event is gathering materials and getting funds. If it wasn’t for the donations that we received, our event couldn’t have been accomplished. In the same retrospect, our members of our committee were phenomenal and helped us in every step of the way. Personally, I felt so good to do something for our community.”
Overall, Walker was impressed and satisfied with the end result. He stated, “The Holiday Gift Give Away was just one example of that paradigm shift in our organization.” With a job well done, BSU is eager to set the standards for future years to come.