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EKU College of Business supporting families in need during the Holiday Season

The season of giving is right around the corner, and EKU’s College of Business is heading into it with a spirit of thinking of others in need throughout the region.  For the past few years, Global Supply Chain Management students have led holiday canned food drives for the Salvation Army to distribute to families in need during the holiday season.  The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 and is a non-profit organization that seeks to meet the needs of the community members it serves.  Dr. James Kirby Easterling has served as the faculty lead of the food drive since its inception in 2018 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Salvation Army to spearhead the initiative even further.  This year, the entire College of Business is participating, and multiple student organizations are taking a special interest in supporting the cause as well. The canned food drive is becoming a staple in the College of Business community each year, and the impact is being felt across the region.  Richmond’s Salvation Army provides services to multiple counties in Kentucky, including Lee, Owsley, Estill, Clay, Jackson, and Rockcastle Counties.  EKU College of Business students, faculty, and staff have been collecting canned food since October 1st with the goal of surpassing the record 1200 cans which were collected by Global Supply Chain students in 2019.

2021 Holiday (Canned) Food Drive

As Dr. Easterling shared, “We teach our students the importance of servant leadership and being active in their communities upon graduation, and our students supporting the local Salvation Army gives them an opportunity to engage in a way that’s both convenient and not a financial burden.  And students seem to enjoy working alongside their professors which builds deeper and more meaningful relationships."

Food Collection Table

For the first time ever, the College of Business is collaborating with another department across campus to enable an even bigger impact.  Easterling is working with Mark Farris, who teaches in EKU’s renowned Aviation Department.  Farris is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army.  In addition to working with students collecting canned food, Easterling and Farris also enjoy “ringing the bell” and advocating for the Salvation Army and greeting people throughout the community.  Money collected through ringing the Salvation Army bell goes toward the Angel Tree, which seeks to provide each eligible child a new set of winter clothes as well as a new toy.  Dr. Easterling shared that he hopes that perhaps in future years the canned food drive can extend across the entire campus community.  “We teach our students the importance of strategic planning and stretch goals, and we’re already thinking about plans for continuous improvement next year.  We want to be ‘excellent’ in everything we do.  And it really helps with having a close relationship with the Salvation Army leadership team, including Bobby Jackson and Kevin and Wendy Justice.”

James Kirby Easterling & Mark Farris

Dr. Easterling shared that students serve as the driving force, and their willingness to give back to their extended college community speaks to what makes EKU a special place.  Many students ask their family members, neighbors, sorority and fraternity friends, academic clubs, and athletic teams to participate as well.   Sydney Closterman, the student leader for the canned food drive, personally donated thirty cans of food, and a friend matched for a total of sixty cans.  Sydney shared, “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the Salvation Army in supporting families in need for the upcoming holiday season.  Donating a few cans of food is something almost anyone can do, and the impact is immediate as we’re helping people here in our local communities.  I appreciate Dr. Easterling giving me the opportunity to be the student leader for this important outreach initiative, and I plan to support the Salvation Army after I graduate and start my professional career.

Robbe, Closterman, Canada

The Professional Golf Management (PGM) program is contributing heavily to the cause. When Dr. Easterling began promoting the food drive for Salvation Army, the PGM Student Association jumped at the chance to participate. Current club officers, under the guidance of PGM staff member, Austin Molen, decided to make contributing food a competition between each class with a goal of collecting 500 cans. The competition between classes has made this initiative fun. PGM Director Kim Kincer shared, "Our students realize the importance of giving back to the community. We have an obligation to help those in need and if contributing canned goods makes a difference for even one family, our PGM Student Association is willing to help.”

Dr. Jim Fatzinger leads the EKU Maroon Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) student organization and those students are participating as well with bringing canned food to their chapter meetings.  Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) students are participating under the guidance of faculty lead, Susan Gadd.  Dr. Easterling shared “I want to thank the all the students, faculty, and staff who have contributed to this worthwhile cause.  These last few months have been really challenging, and there are many families in need.  I’m thankful to have the support of so many caring colleagues here in the College of Business, as well as our students who continue to think of others especially during the holiday season."

The EKU College of Business canned food drive concludes on November 18th to enable time for students to focus on their final exams as well as allow the Salvation Army time to assemble food boxes for families in need prior to the holidays.  Donation boxes for canned food items are strategically placed throughout the Business and Technology Center (BTC) for students, faculty and staff who wish to donate. Students who do not have the financial means to contribute can volunteer at the Salvation Army distribution center or ringing the bell at a local merchant.

Published on November 05, 2021

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