Hands on Tuscaloosa experiences high turnout

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Ashanka Kumari

The UA Community Service Center held the second phase of their Hands on Tuscaloosa volunteer program on Friday. Students volunteered at locations including the Salvation Army, Project Blessings, the Humane Society, Temporary Emergency Services and the Tuscaloosa Volunteer Reception Center.

Participants of the program were able to choose between the five different locations in Tuscaloosa when they checked in unless a location was full, said Wahnee Sherman, director of the UA Community Service Center.

“[The turnout for the event] was a few more than expected. We knew that it would be a smaller amount than the previous Saturday because of people having classes, and also because of the holiday weekend,” Sherman said. “This is why we planned several service days so that everyone could have an opportunity to work around their schedules and be able to participate.”

Shea Stripling, assistant director of Arts, Youth and Education at the Community Service Center, worked with the Humane Society to help organize leftover donations brought in after the tornado.

“We got a lot of pet food donations after the tornado and they had a lot of storage. What we were doing was organizing those donations and cleaning out the area where they housed those donations,” Stripling said.

The Humane Society has a flea market where they take donations of various items including knick-knacks and kitchenware and sell them to make money for the Humane Society to use to help more people, Stripling said.

Schilling Nechtman, a junior majoring in biology, volunteered at an organization called Project Blessings, which buys old houses and fixes them to sell later for profit that returns to further refurbish more homes.

“We helped paint the ceilings and some people were putting down new sheet rock onto the wall to be painted at a later date,” Nechtman said.

The Community Service Center will hold their final Hands on Tuscaloosa Day on Saturday and offer other service days throughout the semester, Sherman said.

“Students can check out the CSC website for updated information,” Sherman said. “We also want students to get involved with our weekly service opportunities. Students can see an updated list of those opportunities on the CSC website under the Upcoming Programs tab.”

Students can continue to sign up for the final Hands on Tuscaloosa event at volunteer.ua.edu/hands.cfm.

Stripling said students should know that there are many more ways to get involved beyond the tornado relief efforts.

“I think it’s great that they want to help with tornado relief, but there are lots of other needs to be met that have nothing to do with the tornado as well,” Stripling said.