New Campus Blessing Box to Serve Aiken Technical College Students

Staff Report From Aiken CEO

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Behind every student is a story, and for some, their stories include unique challenges.

Aiken Technical College has recognized that sometimes one of those challenges is being able to provide basic needs for oneself or their families. This led to the ATC Foundation’s initiative to bring a Blessing Box to the campus in order to help those within the campus community, said Foundation Director Mary Commons.

“There are students on campus who don't know where their next meal is going to come from or how they are going to feed their children.  Our faculty and staff really get to know our students and students will confide in them that they are in a difficult situation and need help with food, personal care items and help with their children,” said Commons. “It is our goal to help any student that may be in need.  No one should have to go hungry or worry about feeding their families in this community.”

The College unveiled the new Blessing Box during a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony August 21. The box, located outside of the College’s Student Activities Center, includes non-perishable food items such as canned foods, powdered drinks, and baby food, and toiletry items such as toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste, and shaving supplies.

Commons, who led the initiative, contacted Jane Page Thompson who, along with Melanie Carver Inabinet, started the Blessing Box program in Aiken County. Thompson then connected Commons with the U.S. Marine Raiders from the Marine Raider Training Camp in Camp Lejeune, NC.

“The Marine Raiders were using ATC’s campus for training and wanted to give back to the College. It was perfect timing and everything worked out after a few calls and emails,” said Commons.

Initial funding for the Blessing Box came from the Foundation, the Rotary Club of Aiken, and the Marine Raiders.

Other key community partners for the Blessing Box initiative include the Aiken County Career and Technology Center, Foundation of Life men’s group, and Habitat for Humanity.

The Foundation has created a fund specifically for the ATC Blessing Box. Monetary donations can be made to the ATC Foundation, P.O. Drawer 696, Aiken, SC, 29802. Please designate “Blessing Box” in the memo section on a check.  Monetary donations can also be made online at www.atc.edu/foundation.

Donations of non-perishable foods and toiletries are also being accepted. Items should be delivered to the ATC Foundation’s office in the Ashley J. Little Administration Building (100 Building), Room 112.

“I feel we all need to give back for the good fortune that we have been blessed with,” said Commons. “Even small donations can make a difference in someone's life.”