On the first day of class this semester, as Professor Temple described the assignments and scope of this course, my mind was racing with ideas of constituent groups I could ask to support the collection of School Supplies for Afghanistan Children. My thoughts kept returning to my sorority Delta Delta Delta, and just five minutes after class was dismissed my email requesting my chapter’s involvement waited with excitement in the inbox of the Vice President of Chapter Development.
It began with just one pen. When Retired SMSgt Rex Temple was on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan, he and his team were handing out candy to the children in the village. One young boy approached him who did not want any candy. He had no interest in a yummy treat, but instead was fixated on the pen Sargent Temple was wearing on his sleeve. That simple interaction sparked inspiration and illuminated the need for school supplies and the lack of education available to the youth in Afghanistan.
And because the project began years ago with one pen, what better way to kick off the donations from Tri Delta than to ask for the pen they held in their hand right at that very moment. While I was speaking to the chapter, proposed the sacrifice of our pens, and dropped my own into the box I saw smiles flash throughout the room.
Now, this could be attributed to the fact that the majority of my sisters know I form emotional connections with my writing utensils and office supplies. (Yes, I will admit it is a quirk I embrace.) But I think it had more to do with the excitement that was building in each one of them. Such a simple task on our part can make such a large difference in the world.
At the end of our chapter meeting when people were donating the pens into the box one member looked at me and said, “At first I thought ‘Man, this is my favorite pen,’ then I realized I could give it to a little kid who doesn’t even own one pen, let alone have a favorite.”
Without any warning or notifications in advance to bring donated items, we collected 68 pens and pencils, two spiral notebooks, 3 pads of paper, a backpack, and some monetary donations within 10 minutes. I cannot wait to see how many supplies Delta Delta Delta at the University of South Florida can collect by the end of this semester.