On Nov. 14, the Wounded Warrior Project began the season of giving by starting a drive for items, such as travel sized hand sanitizer, deodorant, toothpaste, instant food and magazines or books requested by soldiers. All supplies collected will be sent to troops serving overseas. This year will also be the first time that the WWP Club at Fairfield runs a Thanksgiving drive.
“This is the perfect time of year to host a drive and we really wanted to do something that would help those who are still stationed in Afghanistan,” said Stephen Dierks ’18, founder and president of the Fairfield chapter of WWP.
Senior Kelley Oliveira, co-chair of sponsorship and donations of the WWP, agreed with Dierks.
“It is a wonderful way to give thanks to our country,” said Oliveira. “It involves reaching out to those serving our country with care packages.”
WWP club member Annie McBride ‘19 had experiences with a similar foundation that her family started, called, Andy K and Friends Foundation that inspired the Thanksgiving drive. The foundation hosts an event called Troop’s Day, where soldier-requested supplies are donated and sent to military bases.
“We started the Andy K and Friends Foundation because our close family friend had served four tours and unfortunately lost his life on his fourth tour,” said McBride. “Stephen always asks us for new ideas and I thought the drive would be a great one to do.”
The WWP has partnered with Campus Ministry and Inter-Residential Housing Association for the event. Multiple dorms have run building drives associated with the WWP drive and announcements were made at Mass in the chapel each week to advertise the drive.
President of the Service for Justice Residential College IRHA, Joyce Ramirez, explained how the dorm is getting involved in the drive.
“Each floor received a list of items they should bring in and whichever floor brings in the most items gets a prize,” said Ramirez.
Although the drive will mostly be student-run, it was advertised to the town of Fairfield with the hope that residents will make donations as well.
“Students are encouraged to participate, although this fundraiser is not limited to just students,” said Oliveira. “Club members and the Fairfield University community are prompted to contact family and friends to join in as well.”
Some items were received, but the WWP is expecting a larger amount of donations since students have returned from Thanksgiving break. The organization hopes to at least fill four large boxes of supplies. As of Nov. 28, one box is filled.
WWP member Alanna LoBianco ‘19 is looking forward to the change that the drive will make.
“I think it’s going to be a really great turnout; it’s for an amazing cause and it will help a lot of people,” said LoBianco. “It’s surprising how many wounded veterans and troops don’t have basic supplies. A little will truly go a long way for this drive.”
The drop-off locations for donations can be found in the lobby of Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Barone Campus Center information desk and Townhouse 156. Donations can be made until Dec. 5.