Giving Spree shoppers collect items for Project Connect

The aisles of Meijer were full of University students racing around in decorated carts and playing games for Giving Spree Friday night.

For Giving Spree, students competed in teams to purchase the largest number of items on their shopping lists  while staying under a budget of $50. Shopping lists included items like soap, toothbrushes, shampoo, razors, crayons and deodorant.

    All of the items collected, a total of 275 items, went to support Project Connect, a one-day event coming up on Wednesday, Oct. 18 where families and individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness or poverty can receive free services. Guests coming to Giving Spree get personal care packages that consist of items purchased during Giving Spree.

    Shannon Fisher, Project Connect Wood County chair, and Deanna Lamb, Project Connect Wood County chair of tangible goods, attended Giving Spree and thanked students for coming together to support Project Connect. Fisher said they are still looking for more volunteers to help staff the event.

    The event has been going on for three years, but this was the event’s first year organized by Alpha Phi Omega, a coed service fraternity.

    In previous years, Tom’s Campus Club planned the event. Because Tom’s dissolved their campus affiliate this year, Alpha Phi Omega took over the event.

    Valerie Schweizer, member of Alpha Phi Omega, was one of the original creators of Giving Spree. At 2 a.m. in her friend’s living room, her friends were asking, “How can we as college students impact our community more?” They came up with Giving Spree.

    From the beginning of the planning, the donations collected during Giving Spree have gone toward supporting Project Connect.

    “They impact the community directly, and we don’t think they get recognized enough for all of the help that they provide,” Schweizer said. “We wanted to help them in their efforts.”