University of South Carolina

Carolina Cares

Carolina Cares marks 40 years of compassion


On December 10, 1969, the University's freshman class started a public service project known as Carolina Cares. That day, several hundred Carolina students canvassed the Greater Columbia area and collected money, food, clothes, and toys for various charitable groups during the holiday season.

What started as a project for the entire freshman class 40 years ago is still going strong.

Here’s proof: for this holiday season, Carolina Cares organized and collected more than 1,200 stockings stuffed with toys and personal care items given by University faculty, staff, and students. The stockings were donated to the Salvation Army for distribution to area children in need.

“Carolina Cares is an opportunity for the University to care about and help its neighbors,” said Jerry Brewer, a Carolina graduate who participated in Carolina Cares as a student and is now associate vice president for student affairs.

“Helping people in places around the world—like Darfur, for example–is wonderful. But there are so many people that we pass on the street here in Columbia who need a little help, and that is what Carolina Cares is about.”

Over the years, the effort has focused on many things, including fundraising, food drives, and Christmas gifts for entire families. Students began Carolina Cares, and students continue to run it.

Steve Cannon
Steve Cannon

Steve Cannon, who was president of the 1969 freshman class, was instrumental in getting the whole thing started.

"We thought we should do a service project, something to help people in the Midlands," said Cannon, who now practices corporate law in the firm of Constantine Cannon in Washington, D.C. "My original thought was to collect canned goods and call it Carolina Can Do. But then we thought, 'If we're going to go to all this trouble, let's collect everything we can and help everyone we can.

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