Aiken Technical College and USC Aiken honor society members worked together throughout the fall semester to help address the needs of an area nonprofit that provides crucial services to the community.

Officers of ATC's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Student Government Association and USCA's Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society presented a collection of everyday items including food, toiletries, paper products, linens and hygiene products to Aiken's Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons. The local nonprofit helps abused women, their children, teens and men break the cycle of violence in their lives by offering safe, free, confidential shelter and services.

“When we heard about the Cumbee Center's needs to help them continue to provide their services to abused persons at the shelter, we wanted to do what we could to help,” said PTK president Jeremy Hargis. “We wanted to make their lives a little bit easier.”

Both PTK and GBP emphasize academic excellence, leadership and service, and the two groups of students decided to collaborate to maximize the impact of their efforts.

“When Jeremy reached out to our society to collaborate on the donation drive, we felt this would be a great opportunity for us to give back to the community while forming ties with the honor society at Aiken Technical College,” said Anna Blizard, GBP president. “We are pleased with the results of the drive and hope it will help those in need.”

Throughout the fall semester, the students set up collection bins around campus and asked instructors to consider offering extra credit to students who participated in the outreach initiative.

Among the items collected were baby wipes and diapers, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, nonperishable foods and even used cell phones.

“The shelter serves up to 25 women and children at a time,” said Cumbee Center volunteer and events coordinator Paul Volz. “Donations like this, especially a variety like this, will serve so many people at our shelter.”