Classes were canceled Monday at Fairmont State University in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service, but that did not stop students and faculty from doing work.
As part of its "Box of Sunshine" drive, the university collected hygeine products to donate to the Fairmont Soup Opera throughout last week. It encouraged community members and students to bring in travel-sized shampoo, deodorant, soap, tooth paste and other toiletries.
On Monday, volunteers came to the campus's Turley Center to pack the items into individual boxes.
"We're helping out people that don't have this kind of stuff to live everyday life," said Carson Poling, a resident assistant at FSU that was there to help with the packing. "I thought it'd be a great opportunity to come out and help."
FSU Civic Engagement Coordinator Amy Drvar said that she worked with the United Way to find a local service that was in need of assitance. When the Soup Opera's name came up, she said she thought it would be a great way to get the campus involved for the Day of Service.
"I know they have a lot of clients that come in daily that are in need of hygeine products," Drvar explained. "Hopefully it'll be quite a good thing for them to be able to give all of these things out."
In addition to the hygeine products, volunteers wrote notes of encouragement to include inside the boxes. The notes were intended to give the clients at the Soup Opera something they don't always receive.
"Individuals who experience homelessness are given a lot of things," said Michael White, an intern in the FSU Office of Civic Engagement. "We wanted to take that extra step in saying, 'You're special. You have so much to offer. Don't give up hope.'"
By the end of the day, volunteers had packed over 150 boxes to donate to the Soup Opera. Drvar said this is an event she plans to do again in the future.
"I definitely think, as successful as this was, we'll start doing it every year."