By Hannah Day
Cedarville University’s staff and students will be sharing the spirit of love and friendship of Valentine’s Day by assembling packages to help those in need at the Love Your Neighbor event.
This year’s event is the second annual Love Your Neighbor event held at the university, hosted by the English Literature and Modern Languages department. The purpose of this event is to remind students that there are more types of love to celebrate on Valentine’s Day than romantic love. This particular event focuses on neighborly, compassionate love.
“Professor Cyndi Messer and I were just talking a couple weeks before Valentine’s Day [last year], and we were concerned that so many students think of romantic love with Valentine’s,” said Dr. Faulkner, chair of the English Literature and Modern Languages department. “And we were thinking ‘how do we turn their love towards our Biblical mandate to love one another with neighborly love?’”
To prepare for this event, the ELML department has been and continues to collect donations of small items that can be packed in gallon-sized storage bags. The event itself will take place on February 14, from 5:30 pm until 7:30, in room 106 of Tyler. During this time, volunteers will work in an assembly fashion filling bags with donations that were provided, as well as small New Testaments provided by the ELML department. The department’s goal this year is to double last year’s donations by creating two hundred bags to hand out to the homeless or others in need. After packing the bags, a dinner will be provided for the volunteers to share together.
After the event, volunteers will be invited to take as many of the bags home as they would like in order to pass them out to those they encounter that could use the items. Any remaining bags will be taken back to the ELML department where they will be available for people to collect and take out for donation. One of the suggested means of distribution is to keep several in the backseat of a personal vehicle, so they could be handed out the window at intersections.
The department, however, is still in need of items for the upcoming event, which can be brought to the ELML office, located in Williams Hall, room 202. Suggested donations include small items such as personal hygiene products (deodorant, toothpaste, soap, etc.) and individually packaged food items like granola bars and fruit snacks. It is requested that hygiene items not be strongly scented, as this can affect the smell of other items in the bag and the taste of any food included. The bags also will include handwritten notes from volunteers at the packing event.
“I find myself praying for the homeless while I am driving, asking God to put these bags into the hands of those who need them most,” said Professor Messer, an associate professor of English at Cedarville, during an email interview, “and I pray for each person I have given a bag to — that the Word would penetrate their hearts and the material items would meet some of their needs. I may not know their names or their stories, but our God does.”
Hannah Day is a freshman forensic science major from Pennsylvania and campus reporter for Cedars. She enjoys theatre, music, and correcting people.