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SGA raises money for United Way

By Tony Buitrago
On February 23, 2012

Students and staff at the Deerwood Center made a team effort to raise money for United Way and celebrate the spirit of love this Valentine's Day. Student Life and SGA both showed up to put on a Valentine's Day bake sale, blood drive and a Valentine's photo booth.

"I have a slogan for the bake sale today," said Da'Shawn Garrett, a volunteer coordinator working the tables. "Are you ready to make this tummy smile and make you smile for charity?"

The bake sale encountered no problems making patrons smile. By offering everything from classic bake sale favorites like brownies and cupcakes to homemade baklava and not charging more than $1.50 per item, they sold out by 3 p.m. With everyone from professors to students to security guards showing their support by buying baked goods and donating blood, the Deerwood Center made a difference this Valentine's day. 

Most of the goods sold at the bake sale were home-made and provided by FSCJ professors, with heavy participation from the science department. Anyone who tried the baklava could tell the chef was a seasoned baking veteran, and the highlight of the event proved to be the auction of a coconut crème cake made by Deerwood Executive Director Dr. Patty Adeeb. 

The Student Government Association wasted no time in getting the Valentine extravaganza organized. "At the SGA meeting before last, we were shooting out ideas and somebody came up with the idea to have a photo booth," says Darian Wright, an SGA representative who had been working the booth that morning. Although he remarked that the photo booth didn't get much attention, Wright didn't seem deterred.

"We had a lot of students participate in the blood drive," Wright continued. "We had a speaker in the theatre and a lot of activity at the bake sale; everybody seemed occupied with those three things."

All proceeds from the event will go to United Way. United Way Worldwide is an apolitical, non-profit charity that is active in more than 45 countries and territories. They raise billions of dollars annually, focusing their efforts on improving education, financial stability and healthcare around the world. They fund programs that train, identify and reward effective teachers, programs that give grants to at-risk communities to reduce infant mortality and make healthcare accessible to low-income families, and they have even funded a Jacksonville-based initiative, Real$ense, which has been returning federal tax dollars and creating revenue streams within the community since 2003.

If you want to get involved with United Way, go to their website to read about their programs, donate money and learn of opportunities to volunteer around Jacksonville. It may be too late to make your tummy smile this Valentine's day, but you can always find a way to smile for charity.


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