Samford Gives Back was an incredible success this year with more than 800 Samford students participating in service opportunities across the Birmingham area. Volunteers packed Seibert Gym for breakfast and an address by Tracy Hipps of Christian Service Mission (also a member of the Samford ODK Circle). Students did everything from tornado relief to urban farming.
One member of the Samford Circle from Tuscaloosa served in Pratt City with victims of last April’s tornados. “It still surprises me,” Carlson Coogler said, “how much is displaced: trash embedded in limbs of broken trees, tupperware containers filled with dirty water, and wrapping supplies — like Christmas bows — littered through grass.”
Another Samford group worked with children in Southtown, teaching them about money and saving. “I was extremely blessed through the amazing little kids from Southtown that my group got to work with. We taught them how to count, save, and spend money,” said Melissa Jeffcoat. Taylor Bell, also in Southtown, said, “It was a great day to work and challenge, as well as to run, laugh, and smile with kids that have so much potential, and I hope that our efforts do not end with this one day.”
Each year, Samford Gives Back is one of the most beneficial days for Samford students and the Birmingham community alike. Not only does it provide material benefit for the city, Samford students represent hope to those around them. As Carlson Coogler said of her experience in Pratt City, “We cannot reverse what has happened, but with each newspaper fragment, nail, and piece of insulation we pick up, we hope for new beauty. Multiple people in their cars stopped to thank us; I think they saw hope in what we were doing, too.”
See also: Samford News: “Samford Will ‘Give Back’ To Community on Saturday”