News and Events
Pepperdine Community Reaches Out with Holiday Service Projects
With a mission statement like "freely ye received, freely give," students at Pepperdine University find ways to serve those less fortunate all year round, but the holiday season offers an added incentive to give back. From cheering on children during a Christmas shopping spree to foregoing the luxuries of food and shelter to empathize with the homeless, Pepperdine students have stepped up their service this holiday season.
During the week of November 12-19, the Pepperdine Volunteer Center coordinated events for the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Pepperdine students spent a few days and nights in the shoes of the homeless in Los Angeles, camping out in the middle of campus in Joslyn Plaza starting the night of Sunday, Nov. 15.
In addition to exchanging their warm dorm rooms with boxes and sleeping bags outside, many also gave up their meal plans, eating only donated food, or simply went without.
“A lot of people are fasting all week. Some of us are just eating what people give us,” said freshman Kacie Scherler. Scherler is a member of the International Justice Mission (IJM) on campus, the groups that has arranged this demonstration.
The week also included two lectures: "Standing on Stone: Building Foundations of Compassion," with Hollie Packman, co-founder of Standing on Stone Ministries, and "Christians Taking Action Against Hunger and Homelessness" with Al Sturgeon, law clerk program volunteer with Public Counsel of LA.
Another very special volunteer event took place Thursday, Nov. 19 at the Sears store in Santa Monica. Several students got up before dawn to take part in the Salvation Army's 25th anniversary Shopping Spree, and helped an underprivileged child, ages 5 to 12, do their Christmas shopping.
On Saturday, Dec. 5 from 12 noon to 6 p.m., Pepperdine students will travel north to the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project in Oxnard, California. Volunteers will serve a Christmas dinner to impoverished familes, help enhance the Christmas feel of the season with children’s crafts, and aid in clean-up.
Another big service event coordinated by Pepperdine students and staff for the holiday is Santa Run 2009. On November 17, ornaments with details on a child in need were placed on Christmas trees around campus. Students are advised to take an ornament off one of the trees around campus, and then shop for Christmas presents for that child. Students can bring their gift to a special holiday chapel on December 9 or drop it off at Campus Ministries or The Volunteer Center. The gifts will be delivered to communities in San Felipe and Tijuana by Campus Ministries after finals.
Finally, the giving season has not been lost on Pepperdine alumni. Waves across the nation are collecting donations for local charities, such as toys, books, nonperishable food items, travel-sized toiletry items, warm mittens, hats, scarves, and gift cards.
The Phoenix "Heat" Waves are adopting three families from the Phoenix area through Urban Young Life and Impact this holiday season. On December 10, they will gather to gift wrap donations of new clothing and gifts for the children, gift cards for the parents, and food baskets of non-perishable items.
Another notable volunteer opportunity is taking place in New York City. Groove With Me, an East Harlem non-profit dance studio that offers free dance classes to girls in an effort to keep them off the streets, is having a Christmas recital featuring more than 200 children. The Pepperdine community, including Groove With Me volunteer Erin Glass ('01) will help to run the event on December 12.
For more information on volunteer opportunities at Pepperdine University, contact the Pepperdine Volunteer Center at (310) 506-4143.