By Lauren Ebben/ Editor in Chief
A supply drive run by Phi Theta Kappa is providing donations for the Hope Welcome Center, an organization that houses people traveling to visit family members in the Potter County Prison.
Starting Dec. 2, bins were placed around campus to collect a variety of donations: travel-size items (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc.), paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, etc.), cleaning supplies and feminine products.
According to Hector Casanova, the president of Beta Eta, the Amarillo College chapter of PTK, the drive is part of an ongoing project for PTK called Honors In Action, a research-driven project that challenges the chapter to find and raise awareness for a problem within their community. As part of a national organization, chapters around the nation work on HIA projects every year.
Casanova said this year Beta Eta chose to help families of felons, in part, because its “a very underrepresented group in Amarillo,” he said. Another reason the chapter decided on this project was because of the lack of information for this particular group of people.
“No one else is kind of looking out for this group of people,” Casanova said. “You’ll find several programs to help felons already in jail, but not so much to help what’s in the background: people who have been affected but who’s not in prison. That involves a spouse, kids, other family members who have to make do with the loss of another source of income, with another source of support to the family.”
Through their research, the chapter officers discovered the Hope Welcome Center, a small non-profit that provides support for these families in need. Throughout the semester, PTK members visited the HWC to learn more about the organization and the people who use its resources.
Chloe Pumphrey, a biology major and vice president of scholarship for the AC chapter, said her experience with the HWC changed her view of things.
During one of the visits, Pumphrey spoke with a mother of four whose husband was imprisoned, leaving the woman responsible for taking care of her family on her own, focusing on her own job, as well as running her husband’s business.
“It put things into perspective for me,” Pumphrey said. “Anything could happen, then suddenly you’re left with everything all at once with no one to share the burden with.”
According to Casanova, as a part of HIA, chapters are required to do an action that shows their commitment to the issue they are working on. For the AC chapter, that action is a supply drive to gather donations for the HWC, which is what the bins around campus are for.
He said since the HWC is only run by two people, the need for a supply drive is high.
“This is stuff the HWC consumes very quickly so having these items in stock for them would make a great difference in how they operate and what items they can provide for future families,” he said.
According to Casanova, anyone in the community can donate items in the bins, however, Beta Eta is also getting the college more involved in the project by partnering with Student Government Association to host a club contest on campus.
Participating clubs are competing against each other to produce the highest number of donations by the end of the drive. The winning club will receive a free fellowship for that club’s officers and several of its members at Western Bowl. Clubs are encouraged to wait to turn in their donations until near the end of the drive as this will help student life keep track of which club has the highest donations.
The drive concludes Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. Bins can be found on the first floor of the Ware building, the first floor of Byrd/Parcells and in the Burrow, located in the basement of the student union building. Those interested in donating can also call the student life front desk at 806-371-5322 for more information about the drive.