Alumni Across U.S. to Volunteer as Panther Service Day Goes National
Eastern Illinois University's Panther Service Day, an annual tradition in Charleston since 2003, is growing this year to include more than 500 alumni helping out in their communities across the country.
Projects are scheduled in several states (events are set for April 19 unless otherwise noted): Alabama (Birmingham), Arizona (Phoenix on March 29), California (Orange County), Illinois (Bloomington, Chicago, Decatur on April 12, Edwardsville, Kankakee, Libertyville, Mattoon, Springfield, St. Charles, Wheaton on May 3), Missouri (St. Louis on May 3) and Texas (Dallas).
“We’re very excited to see Panther Service Day expand into the communities of our alumni across the United States,” said Steve Rich, director of EIU Alumni Services. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our graduates to meet or reunite while making a difference where they live.”
Panther Service Day earned Charleston a 2004 Governor's Hometown Service Award.
Here's a rundown of events set for this year:
- BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: EIU alumni will help with YouthServe's Great Vegetable Run, aiding in the sorting, bagging and delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables to local area elderly shut-ins.
- BLOOMINGTON: EIU alumni will help during the third annual Bloomington-Normal Community Cleanup Week. Clean-up activities will include picking up litter, trash and debris in Miller Park.
- CHARLESTON: This year's event will again include yard work and cleanup of streets, alleys, parks, recreational areas and campus.
- CHICAGO: EIU alumni will help with the Lakeview Pantry Green Bag Drive bag distribution, in which volunteers will deliver 1,000 paper bags to the doorsteps of nearby residences, in hopes of collecting donations of non-perishable food items. Donation collection will take place one week later by the Lakeview Pantry staff.
- DALLAS: EIU alumni will help with March for Babies, a March of Dimes fundraiser that supports life-saving research, service, education and advocacy that help babies get a healthy start.
- DECATUR: EIU alumni worked a week early (April 12) at the Weed and Seed community clean-up effort, picking up litter, trash and debris in public parks and neighborhoods and along public roadways.
- EDWARDSVILLE: EIU alumni will help the Metro East Humane Society with various tasks, including walking dogs; socializing with cats; and assisting with bathing, grooming and cleaning.
- KANKAKEE: EIU alumni will help the Kankakee Salvation Army by sorting and stocking various food and clothing donations.
- LIBERTYVILLE: EIU alumni will help with the fifth annual Take a Step for Kids run/walk hosted by the Community Youth Network.
- MATTOON: EIU alumni will host a book drive to benefit the Mattoon Public Library.
- ORANGE COUNTY, Calif: EIU alumni will inspect, sort and stock various food donations at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, which helps to feed an average of 200,000 people each month.
- PHOENIX, Ariz.: EIU alumni sorted and packaged emergency food boxes for the Saint Mary's Food Bank Alliance on March 29.
- SPRINGFIELD: EIU alumni will be conducting a toy drive to benefit St. John’s Children’s Hospital's treasure chest program and its child life playroom.
- ST. CHARLES: EIU alumni will be helping the Northern Illinois Food Bank (600 Industrial Drive), which annually distributes more than 22 million pounds of food to local families and individuals in need.
- ST. LOUIS: EIU alumni will sort and stock clothing donations at The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition's KidStore, a small resale shop open exclusively to children in foster care.
- WHEATON: EIU alumni will be sorting and stocking food donations at the People's Resource Center.
Details about all of the projects planned as part of Panther Service Day may be found online at http://www.eiu.edu/alumni/volunteer.html.
For more information about Panther Service Day, please contact Chelsea Frederick, assistant director of EIU Alumni Services, at 217-581-7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.