This holiday season there are numerous opportunities to give back and serve the Searcy community, whether that be volunteering your time or making donations.
“I’ve lived in Searcy my whole life,” junior Emily Parker said. “But now, being a student at Harding, I am so much more aware of the service opportunities I can do for my community all year round, but especially during this time of year.”
FoodPantries.org has a list of organizations in Searcy involved with providing food to families, including College Church of Christ, His House Foundation, and the Good Samaritan Center of White County.
Many of these locations accept volunteers to help stock and package the donated food. FoodPantries.org also provides job descriptions and service hours for each location.
Junior Josh Rankin volunteers his time regularly at KLIFE, a local youth ministry group where college students work with local teens through small groups, service and activities.
“Through my weekly interactions with these kids of the community, it really has made me think about their holiday situations,” Rankin said. “I’ve been wondering how I could give in the most impactful way.”
During the final weeks of the semester, many Harding departments have donation bins of all kinds.
“Harding makes donating so easy and convenient,” Rankin said. “The holidays can be tough for families who don’t have enough, so I want to do all I can to give a helping hand and give them joy around this time of year.”
Senior Julie Plunket also saw the need for encouragement during this season and has been working to meet this need.
“Serving the community is always important, but this time of the year seems to be a great time,” Plunket said. “That is why the Harding Student Association is inviting students to carol to those that live in nursing homes.”
Through this act of service, the Student Association hope to encourage the local elderly.
“We have so many students right here who love to sing, so why not encourage someone with it?” Plunket said. “But if caroling is not the service activity for you, there are always many coat drives and food drives this time of year to help families pay for Christmas meals and stay warm during the season.”
Harding also offers students access to the HU Service Central app, a Harding app created to make the volunteering process as fun and engaging as possible for teachers.
The app is full of stories left by other students and faculty that have participated in the promoted services.
“I believe everyone should lend out a helping hand this holiday season,” Parker said.