The smell of a delicious turkey cooking for hours upon hours in the oven, warm stuffing gently resting within, chilled cranberries sliced to perfection, the sight of a perfect pumpkin pie, and the laughter coming from the family room as the final touches are done- these are just a few of the traditions many of us look forward to each year as this time quickly approaches. Unfortunately for many families, these privileges are not a guaranteed tradition they can look forward to. This past week the Director of Service-Learning & Volunteer Programs, Maggie Tripp, with the assistance of multiple volunteers did their best to change Thanksgiving for families in Chester County.
The sixth annual Good Cause Café occurred Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 at Sykes Student Union in Ballroom A and Ballroom B. Here generous varieties of books were sold for a mere one dollar and many for 25 cents. Books ranged from religion, cooking, self-help, business, romance and children’s. Along with the books were an assortment of baked goods including brownies, cookies, breads and much more being sold for 50 cents. Though the prices were low, the proceeds do add up to a philanthropic cause
All proceeds from the Good Cause Café are sent to Chester County Project One which provides family services for families affect by HIV/AIDS. The money is then used to help provide Thanksgiving dinners for those who are planning to do without. Some families receive more than others, depending on their situation and their extent of poverty and need. Even with this sort of distribution, the Good Cause Café alone helps an average of 50 families. Whether it be children, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers or grandfathers, people of all walks of life are included.
Tripp was inspired and began this idea after seeing simple book sales in two separate movies. She decided to take the idea and put it to a good cause, and with the addition of baked goods, the Good Cause Café was created and has been going strong ever since. The first year this program took place such a set up was her intentions. The original plan was simply to bring the AIDS Quilt onto campus, but when she saw such a spectacular turn out she decided to expand her plans and the Good Cause Café has taken its place.
For those West Chester students that were unable to attend the Good Cause Café, there is no need to worry because there are always opportunities to help families in need, especially with winter approaching and the many holidays in the too soon near future. Fundraising for Chester County Project One is always appreciated and one can be sure that all proceeds are going to a great cause. Soon preparations will begin for the Christmas holiday to help provide gifts for those families that are not fortunate enough to provide the Christmas they wish to for their children.
Though the Good Cause Café has ended, one can still help those affect by HIV/AIDS as Tripp continues to do her part with the Annual Bear Fair. One may have seen the signs posted around campus explaining the Bear Fair that collects teddy bears for children in need that have been affected by HIV/AIDS.
These children may be undergoing surgery, limited within hospital walls, or may simply need someone to hug and cuddle with and a warm fuzzy teddy bear is just the friend they need.
One can see the many heart touching ‘thank you’ letters received from the last Bear Fair from the children whom received teddy bears hanging down the stairwell in Skyes Student Union. If one cannot purchase a bear for the Bear Fair, on November 12 one can visit Stadium Grille located in West Chester and Eagle. Simply say “Bear Fair” at the register and a percentage of proceeds will go towards purchasing teddy bears. Help out a cause and you can get a lunch, dinner, or snack!
For more information about the Bear Fair visit www.wcupa.edu/bearfair and for more information about any of the programs Tripp runs or any other opportunities where one can help and get involved with great causes, such as the many Adopt a Family opportunities, visit the Office of Service-Learning & Volunteer Programs located in Killinger Hall, room B19 or call at 610-436-3379.
Maggie Cosgrove is a third-year elementary education, major with a minor in reading. She can be reached at Mc626229@wcupa.edu