UWT RSOs fight homelessness through fundraising

In a joint collaboration between four registered student organizations at UW Tacoma, students gathered donations to fund the supplies necessary to create care packages for those who are homeless. The four RSOs — Muslim Student Association, the Black Student Union, the Somalia Student Association and the Black Men’s Group — are also working in conjunction with Tacoma’s Nativity House and Tacoma Rescue Mission to distribute the care packages.

All contributions toward the project were used to create care packages that contained food, clothing and hygiene products for those who are homeless within Pierce County. In all, they raised $2,000 for the supplies through their page on GoFundMe.

Islam Alsinai, the outreach coordinator for MSA, stated that this project started two years ago by MSA. She explained that in Islam, working with the community and helping others in need is an important part of Islamic religious beliefs.

“Our faith puts so much emphasis in giving back to the community, like charity,” said Alsinai. “There’s some verses … one of them is like, ‘In whatever good you spend is for yourself.’ So, this doesn’t just impact the other people you’re giving to, but also yourself. There’s also another quote that says, ‘give charity, even if it was half of a date.’ You don’t have to give much. Simple things can make a difference.”

For Amari Hill, president of BSU, this was a chance to work together, collaborate with other RSOs and be community-oriented through several means, including being involved in community work, spreading news and educating others on opportunities in community work and outreach.

“When I heard about this initiative, I definitely wanted to hop on board,” Hill said.

Contained within the care packages will be several items to help with the colder weather of the late winter and early spring. Clothing items like gloves and socks will be included in the package, as will hygiene products such as deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste and feminine products. For food supplies, the kits will contain some sandwiches, apples and a water bottle.

President of MSA Dilnoza Chorieva explained the reasoning behind the items in the care packages. She stated that many times, those who are homeless might only get dinner from shelters, and the food in these kits was to help provide more sustenance during the day.

The next step for the project will be putting the care packages together. Originally, the plan was to spend the entirety of Feb. 26 putting together the kits, but this has been pushed back to an unspecified date due to an issue with their GoFundMe site. However, Alsinai, Hill and Chorieva assured that they would still find a date to get students involved with making the care packages. They also stated that all students are welcome to sign up to help construct the kits — you do not have to be a member of any of the RSOs to help in the project.

“I … feel like bringing other RSOs on campus together really showed that most of us have similar goals in what we want to do,” said Chorieva. “In bringing our goals together and turning them into something bigger is really meaningful because if one RSO does something, that thing can be impactful. But when other people come together, it can be something larger, you know? … It shows that bringing four or five RSOs together is possible.”