January 15, 2009

Service project will benefit African children

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A service project that Southern Illinois University Carbondale students and alumni are undertaking this weekend in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will literally involve clothing African children with tender loving care.

The current SIUC AmeriCorps team and a few former members will gather Saturday, Jan. 17, from 9 a.m. until noon in the Illinois Room of the SIUC Student Center. There, they’ll view a presentation about the project and then design and create individualized T-shirts for AIDS orphans under the age of 14 living in Zambia.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the SIUC AmeriCorps service project as students create special T-shirts for African AIDS orphans 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 17.

The project is in conjunction with a 2003 partnership between Hospice of Southern Illinois and the Ranchhod Hospice and Children’s Centre in Kabwe, Zambia through The Foundation for Hospices of Sub-Saharan Africa (FHSSA). Both hospices are non-profit organizations and through the alliance, the Illinois organization is providing some financial, educational and moral support and supplies to its African partner as it deals with the continuing HIV/AIDS pandemic. Hospice of Southern Illinois gathers community donations of funds, school supplies (other than paper) and over-the-counter children and infant medications.

Along with gathering donations for the local hospice organization to pass along to its sister organization, the SIUC AmeriCorps members will be participating Saturday in the “T-Shirt Project.” Project participants use fabric markers and more to personally decorate T-shirts that go to school-age children in Kabwe, along with a picture of the person who created the T-shirt. It’s a treasured gift from the heart that lets the kids know someone in America cares about them.

To donate to the project, send checks payable to HIS-Zambia Partnership to Hospice of Southern Illinois, 204 Halfway Road, Marion, Ill., 62959. For more information about the project contact Allida Plumer at 618/997-3030 or by e-mail at aplumer@hospice.org.