KNOXVILLE– Student Revival Week, featuring the theme “generosity,” came to a close yesterday with a major Harvesters event.
Students could earn a chapel make-up by volunteering an hour and a half of their time to sort clothes for Master Provisions in the Phillips-Welshimer Building Gymnasium. Just outside, individuals could buy a T-shirt and dye to make their own tie dye shirt as a fundraiser for the Dunns.
“We’re a faith based organization that provides food locally, clothes internationally, and orphan care in Togo and Ukraine,” said Matt Westwood, Director of Clothing and International Outreach for Master Provisions.
Volunteers sorted all kinds of clothes with the intention of the items being shipped overseas within the next few months.
Master Provisions members brought in roughly 15,000 pounds worth of clothes to sort. Usable items were packed into 70-100 pound bags, and Westwood estimated they would generate about 60 bags.
“Each bag helps about 50 people,” he said. “This is huge for us because we can’t get these clothes processed without help.” After a little over an hour, volunteers had packed 27 bags full of clothes ready to be sent overseas.
Donations came from various churches, as well as direct donations to their warehouse in Florence, KY.
When these bags are shipped to missionaries abroad, they will often sell them to locals for a low price so that locals can resell them at a higher price to create a profit. Westwood described their clothing ministry as “more a pillar than a crutch. [We] want to create stability,” he said.
There are sometimes sewing classes in Togo, for example, that teach women to repair/renew clothes that they can then sell at the market as they work to become more self-sustaining.
“I really wanted to find out what Master Provisions is all about,” said senior Abby Gibbons as she sorted through a pile of clothes. Volunteers had a variety of things to watch out for when sorting clothes, organized by the acronym “FOR CHRIST.” Volunteers were to discard clothing that was: Faded, Outdated, Bagged, Circumstantially compromised, Hole-y, Rank, Inappropriate, Stained, or Torn.
“I’m helping [so I can] show support for Master Provisions and all the things they do around the world,” freshman Ashton Lowry said. “I’m really proud of our school getting in touch with organizations like this. I like [being in] community with JU students doing what God called us to do.”
Outside the gym, individuals embraced the opportunity to tie dye a shirt while enjoying the warm weather. Participants could use one color of dye for $5, two for $7, three for $8, or five for $10. They could also purchase a $5 white T-shirt that said “Mission Ethiopia” and “#DunnsinthehornofAfrica” on the back.
“We partnered with SGA in light of the giving theme,” said junior Spencer Myers, Harvesters Special Events and Fundraising Coordinator. “We wanted to let the student body know that giving can be a spiritual discipline.”
Harvesters found that combining their fundraiser with a service event allowed people to be generous not just financially, but also with their time. It was also their hope that students would realize that giving can also serve to bring them closer to God.
“SGA will match up to $1,000,” Myers said. Harvesters well passed their $1,000 goal in yesterday’s chapel. With the estimate of raising $500 through the tie dye fundraiser, they will have gathered $4,000 from this week alone to help out with the Dunns’ mission in Ethiopia.
Combined with their previous fundraising, this would set the Harvesters a little less than $2,000 short of their $10,000 goal to help the Dunns.
Senior Tate Abernathy, Harvesters President, said, “Our goal at the end of last year was to increase by 80%, so God is good!”