NLU lends a hand for USO care package drive
by Mark Donahue
Yesterday, NLU faculty, staff, leadership and students teamed up with USO of Illinois as part of the University's May Month of Service to assemble care packages for military members serving in Afghanistan.
Donations came from all seven NLU campuses and included everything from chewing gum, granola bars and toiletries to books, DVDs, clothing items and more. The original goal of 50 boxes was nearly tripled to 138 in just an hour of work.
Additionally, students from St. Giles School in Oak Park and Carl Von Linne Elementary School in Chicago provided hand-made thank you cards to include in the packages, with members of the NLU community adding their own.
"The most exciting thing for me is we have literally had massive participation from all seven of our locations," said McCeil Johnson, Executive Director of Legal Affairs.
Johnson spearheaded the drive with help from associate professor Janice Guerriero, who had contacts with the USO. What went from a volunteering opportunity just for leadership grew to encompass the whole University, with groups at each campus forming "platoons" to donate or volunteer. Members of NLU leadership also donated money to help buy items and pay for shipping.
All packages will be going to 65 members of an Air National Guard unit from Peoria, which deployed to Afghanistan in January. With nearly half a year on duty, said Jill Gayton, Project Manager for USO of Illinois, those service members will be starting to get homesick, and the care packages mean a lot.
"They appreciate getting something from home — that someone's thinking about them," she said.
Beyond the care package drive, Johnson said NLU is going to help the USO with career development — resume reviews, etc. — for service members in the future and hopes the two organizations can do even more.
Because of the higher-than-expected number of packages, the USO is still accepting money donations to cover shipping. You can donate online here. Indicate that this event is for National Louis University.
|Donations came from all seven NLU campuses
and covered a wide range of items.
|Children from two Chicagoland schools made cards
to be included in the packages.
|NLU's community pitched in to assemble packages.||Things moved quickly on the assembly line.|
|Packages are being sent to an Illinois Air National
Guard unit stationed in Afghanistan.
|NLU nearly tripled its original goal of 50 packages
at yesterday's event.