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Miami community raises thousands for local organizations

12/18/2008

Miami University staff and faculty raised more than $20,000 in the last few months to support local organizations that serve people in need. Fundraisers range from donating meals to auctioning off handcrafted items to designing model train lines.

Projects include:

CPAC Holiday Project - $9,000 for Gifts for Children
Miami's Classified Personnel Advisory Committee (CPAC) finished its 13th annual Holiday Project with delivery this week of 84 bags of gifts to the Preble County Children's Services office and 70 bags of gifts to the Butler County CASA Parachute office. In all, $9,000 was raised, along with donated toys, books and gift-wrap. Gifts are given to children who are under court protection due to abuse, abandonment or neglect.

While donations were slightly down this year - the goal was $12,500 - the number of volunteers helping to collect donations and buy and wrap gifts was the highest ever, reported Anita Sackenheim, administrative secretary for the department of kinesiology and health, holiday project chair for 2008.

Volunteers and donors come from Miami's Oxford, Middletown and Hamilton campuses, as well as community organizations and businesses. Sackenheim organized the project with Linda Knowles, project treasurer and administrative assistant, IT services; and Beverly Flaig, project secretary and administrative assistant, office of development, working with numerous volunteers. In particular, lead volunteers included wrapping captains Judi Webb, Pat Troesch and Pam Sackenheim; publications volunteer Kristin Kieffer; and physical facilities department members Bob Beckett, Darren Richardson, Lonnie Davidson and Dean Tintsman.

Engineering Students - $325 for CPAC Holiday Project
Miami's first year engineering students designed and donated authentic recreations of the Santa Fe SD545 and Canadian Pacific-Holiday Express train lines and layouts as HO scale models for a silent auction. The auction, held Nov. 19-Dec. 2, raised $325, which was donated to the CPAC Holiday Project.

Students worked under the direction of Steve Keller, associate professor of paper and chemical engineering; and Doug Troy, chair and professor of computer science and systems analysis. The silent auction was sponsored by the division of university advancement and the department of kinesiology and health.

The Canadian Pacific-Holiday Express layout was donated to the Liberty Nursing Center of Oxford by winning bidder Diana Spillman, associate professor, kinesiology and health.

University Advancement Annual Auction - $1,650 for CPAC Holiday Project
The division of university advancement's auction raised $1,650 that was donated to the CPAC Holiday Project. The seventh annual auction featured handcrafted items and home baked goods, said volunteer Beverly Flaig.

Zoology Department Silent Auction - $1,400 for Foundation
Organized by graduate students Kevin Wright and Lesley Knoll, the zoology department's silent auction raised $1,400 for the Oxford Community Foundation.

Items were donated by zoology faculty, staff and graduate students and auctioned during a Dec. 13 holiday party potluck. Many items were handcrafted; highlights included Indian cooking lessons donated by several graduate students from India and photographic prints by award-winning nature photographer Molly Steinwald, a zoology doctoral student.

This is the third year for the auction, said Knoll and Wright, and the money raised has increased each year, with $800 raised in 2006 and $1,300 in 2007.

Pledge-a-Meal and Writers Harvest - $7,500 for Food Pantries
Miami's annual pledge-a-meal program raised $7,100, with 2,094 students pledging to donate a meal on Dec. 2. The 16th annual Writers Harvest, held Nov. 18, raised $387. Proceeds from the benefit reading - staged by Miami's creative writing program - and the pledge-a-meal are split among three organizations: Oxford Community Choice Pantry, Serve City in Middletown and the FreeStore/Food Bank in Cincinnati.

The pledge-a-meal "exceeded our set goal of 2008 pledges," said Eric Goodman, professor of English and director of the creative writing program. Goodman has coordinated the program for the past 10 years. The program allows any student with a meal plan to donate one meal to help feed the hungry. This year each pledged meal was worth $3.39.

Goodman credited Louise Mettler (Miami '07) and Hailee Gibbons (Miami '08), Ohio Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers in Miami's office of community engagement and service, for contributing to the success of this year's program.

Oxford Empty Bowls - $4,000 for Pantry
The Oxford Empty Bowls Benefit Soup Luncheon held Oct. 25 raised $4,000 for the Oxford Community Choice Pantry. The community-wide event included many volunteers from Miami University, in particular Dennis Tobin, associate professor of art, and his ceramic students who created and donated hundreds of bowls; Mary Hessling, visiting faculty in art, and Saturday Art program students; and members of Miami's pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. The 2008 luncheon was organized by Constance Malone, program assistant, department of zoology.

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