Hunger and Homelessness Week: TWC serves and leads by example

Hunger and Homelessness Week: TWC serves and leads by example

ATHENS, Tenn. (11-22-11) – Tennessee Wesleyan College recently concluded Hunger and Homelessness Week. The week, from Monday, Nov. 14, through Friday, Nov. 18, had several events focusing on service to the community.

On Tuesday, 150 students, faculty, and staff volunteered at 15 local organizations around Athens. Each volunteer worked 5 hours at their location with college representatives putting in 750 hours of combined community service work.

Tennessee Wesleyan College President Harley Knowles said, “It’s been a great experience and a great way to teach our students about community involvement and stewardship.”

A large number of TWC volunteers visited Athens Regional Park work. Tasks at the park included planting trees to help fight erosion as well as cleaning up trash from around the park.

On cleaning at Regional Park, Athens Parks and Recreation Director Austin Fesmire said, “It’s a bit of environmental education as you get to see all the stuff that floats downstream that we have to clean up.”

Along with the Regional Park, volunteers from TWC also visited Morning Pointe Assisted Living Center, the YMCA, the Hope Center, the Children’s Advocacy Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Athens Area Council for the Arts, and several other locations.

TWC Director of Servant Leadership Mandy Thacker-Beeler said, “With 750 volunteer hours in one day it had a big impact on the community. We couldn’t have done it without the help and support of all the students, faculty, and staff that volunteered.”

Also as part of the week’s activities, 139 students attended a homelessness convocation which coincided with a food and clothing drive on campus.  Warm clothes and non-perishable food items were collected to help some of those in need this winter.  Over 450 non-perishable food items were collected along with 39 winter coats, 26 other warm clothing items, such as sweaters and pants, 57 pairs of gloves and 60 winter hats.

A Community Partner Site Fair with 22 community partner agencies in attendance was held on Friday. The goal of the fair was to give an opportunity for students to meet and learn about the different agencies around Athens and how they may be able to serve.

Beth Makowski, TWC Center for Servant Leadership Coordinator, said, “The fair was a great way for our students to learn how they can volunteer around Athens and make a big difference in our small town.”

Also during the week, an angel tree was setup for students to sponsor a senior from a local nursing to fulfill their Christmas needs. Students have through Dec. 1 to take a name from the tree with gifts being turned in by Dec. 6.

Tennessee Wesleyan College, founded in Athens, Tenn., in 1857, is a four-year liberal arts institution affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The College’s dedicated faculty and staff believe in providing the resources and support students need to become socially responsible, intellectually skilled and spiritually developed members of our community. For additional information about Tennessee Wesleyan College, visit, become a TWC fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at