The third annual KU Cares Month of Service brought Jayhawks closer to the communities they call home. One of our favorite events comes from the Twin Cities Jayhawks.
When your doorbell rings on Halloween, you’re expected to answer with candy in hand. But when the Pence family shows up, it’s time to hit the pantry.
Stacy, c’10 and her husband Tyler, d’11, have spent their Halloween evenings for the past six years going door to door in their Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Instead of candy, they’re collecting donations for the St. Louis Park Emergency Program, a local program that offers food, clothing and other forms of assistance for those in need.
“My husband and I did the first trick or treat supply drive only on our block to meet neighbors and help a good cause,” says Stacy. “It was so popular that we decided to make it an entire neighborhood effort the following year.”
The scope of the night continued to grow the past two years as the all-call went out to other Jayhawks to help out as part of the KU Cares Month of Service.
“Generally, it is very well-received,” says Stacy. “So many thank yous! Flyers are given to every home in advance so many people are ready with bags of donations. Others are surprised when an adult is knocking on their door on Halloween, but when we explain our cause they run to their kitchen to get something.”
As for the results? They’re spook-tacular.
“I couldn’t count the items as there are literally thousands that fill our entire living room. This year 1,705 pounds were donated, which brings our to-date total over 11,500. Pretty insane.”
Thanks again to all Jayhawks who participated in the third annual KU Cares Month of Service. Jayhawks can make a difference in their community anytime. Visit kualumni.org/info-for/volunteer to learn how you can organize a KU Cares event in your network.
The second annual KU Cares Month of Service gave Jayhawks the chance to meet each other and support their communities at the same time. Alumni in 23 cities across the country organized 27 different events.
The KU Alumni Association set out to have participants share the spirit of the holidays by giving back to people in need.
Here’s a sample of the many awesome events that alumni network volunteers organized. Thanks again to all who participated!
Phoenix Jayhawks: Lunches for the homeless
KU alumni in Phoenix packed meals for people in need at St. Vincent De Paul’s “Hearts and Hands” event.
Twin Cities Jayhawks: Halloween Supply Drive
Minneapolis Jayhawks started the month of service a day early: a night early, to be exact. They partnered with the St. Louis Park Emergency Program to spend their Halloween forgoing candy and collecting supplies for a local homeless shelter instead.
Portland Jayhawks: Oregon Food Bank
A small group made a big difference in Portland. Six Jayhawks showed their love for their city with two and a half hours of work leading to 455 packaged meals.
Milwaukee Jayhawks: Breakfast for military families
Area Jayhawks got to work to thank area veterans and their families by cooking breakfast at the the Fisher House, a temporary housing option for military families. Families stay at the house while their loved one receives care at the Medical Center.
Denver Jayhawks: Watch party with a purpose
Local alumni started their watch party season with a purpose. The group collected more than 500 items for the St. Francis Center, a local homeless refuge.
KU Cares Month of Service may be over, but Jayhawks can get together to support their communities anytime! Visit the KU Cares page for more information, and reach out to your local network leaders to organize an event in your area.
After 19 different events in 16 different cities, the first KU Cares Month of Service brought Jayhawks closer to the communities they call home.
The KU Alumni Association set out to have participants in the Month of Service share the spirit of Thanksgiving by giving back, both in their networks and in the KU community.
A portion of all membership dues collected during the month of November was earmarked for the Wounded Warrior scholarship fund. Thanks to the generosity of those who joined, renewed, or donated, more than $5,500 will be given to the scholarship fund that helps qualified veterans and their family pursue their education at KU.
Continuing on the theme of an earlier post, we wanted to highlight some of the events where Jayhawks made a difference.
Wichita: Ronald McDonald House
Members of the Wichita Jayhawk Network came together to help those staying in the Ronald McDonald house. Volunteers brought, prepared and served dinner to the families with children in nearby hospitals.
Milwaukee: Fill the Freezer
Local KU alumni joined forces with the United Way to fight hunger at the first annual “Fill the Freezer” event. Network leader Jay Craig, b’85 g’87, brought area Jayhawk volunteers together with local chefs to prepare frozen meals for those in transitional housing and family support programs.
Phoenix: St. Vincent De Paul’s Watkins Kitchen
More than 15 Jayhawks gave their Saturday morning to prepare meals for the homeless at St. Vincent De Paul’s Watkins Kitchen. Phoenix Network Leader Chris Colyer, b’04 l’09, thanked everyone for representing KU and showing compassion for their community.
San Antonio: Haven for Hope
Area alumni put on their Jayhawk gear, along with aprons and gloves, and served food to those in need in downtown San Antonio. Network leader Morgan Bertram, d’02, thanked those who helped feed 383 at Haven for Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless find a new beginning.
While the KU Cares Month of Service is over, Jayhawks can get together to give time and talents to their communities anytime! Visit the KU Cares page for more information, and reach out to your local network leaders. View our Flickr album of these events and more from the KU Cares Month of Service:
As the KU Cares Month of Service continues, the pictures and stories from the events are rolling in. We’re sharing a few from the first events to show how Jayhawks are making a difference in their communities. Visit the KU Cares Month of Service homepage to learn how you can participate in giving back to those in need.
Portland: Friends of Trees
The Portland Jayhawks joined forces with other volunteers on a misty Saturday afternoon to plant more than 200 trees in southeast Portland. Network volunteer Meg Viezbicke, c’97, organized the event and praised Friends of Trees for helping ensure the Jayhawks could be involved. Friends of Trees, a local nonprofit, aims to to inspire community stewardship of the area’s urban forest by planting and caring for trees in both neighborhoods and green spaces.
Seattle: Food Lifeline
Network volunteer Deanna Marks, b’16 e’16, brought together 10 Seattle Jayhawks who donned aprons and hairnets over their KU gear and packed 1,420 meals for their community at Food Lifeline, a nonprofit that provides meals to residents of Western Washington. Food Lifeline is a member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of over 200 food banks.
Tampa Bay: Feeding America
The Tampa Bay ’Hawks also partnered with Feeding America by collecting over 100 pounds of food. Network leader Chris Longino, b’06, thanked those who brought donations to their watch site for football and basketball watch parties. “I am always impressed with the generosity and goodwill of the Jayhawk Nation,” Longino said. “Hopefully, we can plan many future opportunities for our KU group to give back to our adopted Tampa Bay community.”
San Diego: Sunset Cliffs beach cleanup
San Diego Jayhawks spent a Saturday morning by the ocean, but instead of lounging in the sun they opted to beautify the beach. Network volunteer Stephanie Shehi, b’86, partnered with the San Diego Coastkeeper organization, which helps keep Sunset Cliffs Park clean and beautiful for the community. The network picked up 20 pounds of trash, enjoyed stunning views, and heard lots of “Rock Chalks” from bystanders.
The easiest way to participate in the KU Cares Month of Service is to join or renew your Alumni Association membership. During the month of November, a portion of all dues will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund. Join, renew, or upgrade your membership to participate in this initiative!
The KU Alumni Association is proud to announce a new campaign this November for networks to give back to their communities. The KU Cares Month of Service will invite networks nationwide to showcase their pride for their alma mater and their cities by volunteering their time and talents in philanthropic events.
“Whether that be volunteering at a soup kitchen, doing a canned food drive, or a public area clean-up, this will be a great way to rally Jayhawks around causes that will benefit their communities,” said Danny Woods, assistant director of legacy and alumni programs.
Other ways to participate in KU Cares
In addition to the volunteer events across national and local networks, if Jayhawks join, renew or upgrade their membership during the month of November a portion of their dues will go to a campus charity.
“Volunteerism is something that KU alumni are passionate about and already doing across the nation, but what excites me the most is giving alumni an avenue to amplify what they are already doing,” Woods said.
With the Houston floods receding, local Jayhawks are mobilizing to get to work.
The Houston Jayhawks Facebook group has been active with posts from Houston residents asking for help, with even more posts by locals asking how they can help. With their positive energy and willingness to get their hands dirty, Jayhawks assisted the family of Allyn Risley, e’72, 2016 Fred Ellsworth medallion recipient. Risley’s step-daughter, Erica Frost, sustained serious flooding at her house. Frost’s sister, Natalie Morgan, j’06, reached out to the Facebook group from her home in Kansas City.
Morgan’s request for help for her sister was met with multiple Houston-area Jayhawks joining friends and family of Frost for a day of hard work removing damaged flooring and drywall. The altruism of the group of alumni impressed Frost, who even overheard a friend say “the Houston Jayhawks must have some sort of emergency whistle that they sound, because they all showed up and jumped right in!”
Watch party for a cause
Megan Gile, c’11, organized the annual watch party for the first KU football game, but knew she had to add something to give back to their community.
“We decided to host our annual football kickoff watch party to add a piece of normalcy to Houston,” Gile said. “It’s an event we host every year and even with the hurricane and terrible flooding across Texas and Houston, it’s important to stay united and give everyone something to look forward too. We added the donation drive as way for Houston Jayhawks to give back to Houstonians. Beyond donating their time, donating items for shelters is a great way for Houston Jayhawks to give back.”
The Houston Jayhawks set up a donations box at their alumni bar and asked attendees to fill the box with new socks and underwear.
“The watch party and donation drive was incredibly successful,” Gile said. “We had Jayhawks drive in from all across Houston to attend. More profoundly, regulars at Coaches Pub, our alumni bar in Houston, left the bar and returned with donation items once they found out what we were doing. Houstonians, Jayhawk or not, are really banding together to help each other during this time of need.”
When asked about the strong turnout and even stronger support for the people of Houston, Megan pointed to their alma mater.
“I think it’s about helping our own and how our bond as Kansas alumni is different. Being in a state so far from home for most of us, as most of us are not Texas natives, we really stick together and are proud to be Jayhawks. We are proud to be Kansas alumni and proud to be Houstonians, helping anyway we can. Come hell or high water, we will get through this.”