Carolina Cares marks 40 years of compassion
"That’s when we decided to call it Carolina Cares," Cannon said. "A lot of student volunteers got involved, and University staff, and members of the community. For example, the Burger King on College Street agreed to feed all the volunteers that day. We were very organized and ran it like a military operation. The Marine Reserve came with us and drove collection trucks, and we used buses from the University's motor pool to move all the donated items.
"That first year we collected between $5,000 and $10,000. We took two Marine Corps trucks to the local Kmart and bought almost all of the toys in the place," Cannon said. "We filled up the two trucks with brand new toys and gave them to the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program. Other items went to the Salvation Army. It got bigger each year after that.
"When we started it all, we thought we had a winner," he said, "but it never occurred to me that 40 years later it would be still going."
"Carolina Cares still gives students and student organizations the chance to help members of the community during the holidays," said international business and finance junior Jennifer Conner, who is director of Carolina Cares this academic year and has been involved with the Carolina Service Council since her freshman year.
“The activity culminates with the Carolina tree lighting ceremony on the Horseshoe. This year at the tree lighting, we had speakers from the Salvation Army and the Nurturing Center, the two groups we are working with this season. We’re also participating in Adopt-A-Family, a program sponsored by the Nurturing Center.”
During its four decades of generosity and compassion, Carolina Cares has been energized by countless students, faculty, and staff.
“There have been a lot of really good people who have been involved in this over the years,” Brewer said. “Carolina Cares always brings together people from different areas of the University. We’re a diverse community, but we can all agree on this as a worthy project."