Gamecocks give back(packs)

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

Over the past four years, The Jacksonville State football team has teamed up with the ladies of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority for their annual “give back-pack” charity event. 

On July 26, members of the sorority and football team held a community supply drive on the Jacksonville City Square. This is an event where not only JSU athletics get involved, but an event where the entire community is invited to get involved and give back. The local community, JSU students and anyone who is willing to donate, were invited to give backpacks and supplies for these families.

This event provides school supplies for local families and students for the upcoming school year. Each year before the new school year begins, each individual sorority member is assigned to collect two backpacks worth of supplies to contribute to the cause. 

On August 11, families in need throughout Calhoun County were invited to a community pick-up, which took place at Jacksonville community center. Those involved also traveled to schools in Calhoun County on August 13 to give out backpacks and school supplies. In the past, those that helped hand out the supplies have arrived at the schools dressed up as Dr. Suess characters to make it that much more fun and enjoyable for the kids.

“For me, I enjoy being part of an organization that gives to the community,” said Harley Stickney, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. “Before college, I thought sororities were self-centered, but Alpha Omicron Pi has certainly proven me wrong. We are constantly doing what we can to give back to the community, and that’s what I love most about being an AOII. Being part of a service-based organization has changed my life!” 

This event was initially created by sorority alumnae, Fatima Wise, who is now a teacher at Oscar Adams Elementary School, along with former JSU Alpha Omicron Pi Chairwoman Tori Attison. Everyone who has been involved from the start hopes that they can give students the confidence needed to have a fun and successful school year.

The football team has extended their help every year since the start of the event four years ago. According to Alpha Omicron Pi Chairwoman Taylor Beckham, Coach Grass has always loved the idea of this event and encourages his team to join in and help as much as they can. This year, JSU football and Alpha Omicron Pi were able to donate to 26 different schools across the county and gave out over 200 backpacks worth of supplies.

For those who would like to get involved, you can gather supplies for next year’s drive. Supplies that are needed for this event are pencils, erasers, crayons and markers, scissors, glue sticks, 1-inch binders, 3-prong folders, composition notebooks (non-spiral), wide-ruled paper and hand sanitizer.

For more information on future event dates, follow Alpha Omicron Pi on Instagram at “aoiiatjsu” and Facebook at “Alpha Omicron Pi at JSU.”

Photo courtesy of Taylor Beckham

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