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"Fill a Bag" Campaign Shows Generosity of TMCC Staff

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Images of Bags Filled with Toiletries

Hundreds of personal care items were donated by TMCC faculty and staff during the "Fill a Bag, Fill your Heart" campaign to help under-resourced students.

During February, the Student Resources Team at Truckee Meadows Community College held a unique donation drive that filled cabinets in the Re-Entry Center with personal care products to provide students in need.

The "Fill a Bag, Fill your Heart" campaign collected items in brightly-colored paper bags distributed to College departments.

“I feel so fortunate that I work at a campus where so many people care and are willing to participate in a campaign like this,” said Erin Frock, Counselor. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe how some things that are so small can make such a big difference in students’ lives. The staff of TMCC really showed they want to help out in this way.”

Her colleague, Jen O’Bryan-Taft, Specialist in the Re-entry Center agrees.

“We were overwhelmed,” she said. “The drawers now have a lot of supplies, so that when a student comes in, we can give them a bar of deodorant if they need it. If they don’t have to sweat the small stuff, they can go home and study. They feel more connected. People here do care.”

The total amount of toiletries, personal care and other items collected from Feb. 1 to March 1 was considerable:

  • Toothbrushes, more than 500
  • Toothpaste, 300 plus
  • Mouthwash and floss, 200 plus
  • Laundry detergent packages
  • Kleenex and baby wipes, about 100
  • Soap, more than 200
  • Brushes, combs and hair accessories, 100 plus
  • Lotion, about 50
  • Deodorant, 100 plus
  • Shampoos and conditioner, about 50
  • Lip balms and boxes of band aids, more than 50
  • Shaving cream and razors, 50 plus

The team also collected home cleaning products, feminine care items and made grab bag baggies that have assorted travel sizes of shampoos and toothpastes. O’Bryan Taft will bring the grab bags with her on visits to other College sites.

“Collected items are given to students going through rough times, who may not have the money to buy these products on their own while they’re in school,” she added.

The Need is Great

“Food stamps don’t cover basic things like tissue, toilet paper and feminine products,” O’Bryan-Taft said. “There are some homeless students living out of their cars, trying to improve their lives.”

Recognizing the need for assistance in the college community, Joan Steinman, Ed.D., Director of Retention and Support Services, invited a group of faculty and staff to form the Student Resources Team earlier this academic year. The ten members meet once a month, brainstorming ways to help under-resourced students at TMCC.

Faculty and staff who would like to refer students to utilize these resources can do so in a number of ways. Students can come in to make an appointment in the Counseling and Re-Entry Center located in RDMT 325. If students do not have access to the internet, they can call 775-673-7094 for more information about available resources. College staff or students can email referrals or questions to resources@tmcc.edu.

Frock said that she hopes the team can make this campaign an annual event.

“This is our first attempt at starting to bring the community together to help our under-resourced students, and the response has been amazing,” she said. “We wanted to let the staff know how much we appreciate their support in this effort.”

If additional staff members would like to join the team, they are asked to email Jen O’Bryan-Taft.

For more information about the "Fill a Bag, Fill your Heart" drive, please contact Jen O’Bryan-Taft or Erin Frock in the Counseling Center at 775-673-7060.