A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Saints Serve: Thomas More University’s Day of Service to Community was big success, will continue

Thomas More University is a faith-based Catholic institution of higher learning, which provides a distinctive and rigorous liberal arts education for students from across the globe. Thomas More challenges all students to examine the ultimate meaning of life, their place in the world, their responsibility to others, and actions in service to all.

Established as an opportunity to celebrate Thomas More’s centennial anniversary, Saints Serve embodies the mission of the University’s community to serve. This inaugural day of service will continue each year as a way to honor the traditions and values of the University.

Saints Serve by the numbers:

• 44 organizations were assisted across the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region
• 1,236 Thomas More volunteers
• 2,806 service hours were accumulated in just one day

“What an amazing endeavor….as Thomas More University Saints we understand an essential part of fulfilling our mission is developing a commitment to service,” said TMU President Joseph L. Chillo. “Saints Serve was an opportunity for all Saints to live our mission through action, by partaking in a day of giving, volunteering, and service for those in need.”

On Tuesday, September 14 the entire Thomas More University stepped away from their usual duties to join forces and serve the local community — people of all ages in need of assistance: the hungry, the homeless, and more.

The University collaborated with numerous service organizations across the tristate region. Highlights included:
• In partnership with Covington Rotary, Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, and the City of Covington, over 100 students, faculty, and staff participated in a mini-River Sweep clearing 1.45 tons of material from the Covington side of the Ohio River.

• In cooperation with Master Provisions, the University collected enough clothes to pack over 200 bags of clothing for over 7,000 people in the countries of Togo, Ghana, and Honduras.
• University volunteers assembled over 1,000 hygiene kits for Parish Kitchen, Emergency Shelter, St. Francis Seraph Ministries, and Be Concerned.
• The Saints women’s volleyball team prepared over 1,000 sandwiches for the Parish Kitchen and Saint Joseph-Saint Francis Catholic Worker House.
• The University softball team produced 10,368 meals for A Child’s Hope International to serve children in need locally, regionally, and internationally.
• In collaboration with the Student Veteran Association, volunteers penned over 200 cards for active service members and veterans.
• Saints Serve student volunteers at the Freestore Foodbank assembled weekend power packs, enough to feed 2,600 local children.

• Honoring the University’s roots volunteers worked on gardens with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery and the Sisters of Divine Providence. They cleaned up Madison Avenue with the Center for Great Neighborhoods. Volunteers also collaborated with the City of Covington Parks and Recreation to spruce up Devou Park, cleaned at the Lincoln Grant Scholar House in Covington, and helped the Welcome House prepare for the upcoming holiday season.
• Knowing that service starts at home, students and staff conducted a mini-river sweep at the Thomas More University Biology Field Station in California and worked with the City of Crestview Hills to improve Centre View Park and paint 700 feet of fence along Dixie Highway.
• University volunteers completed other projects for organizations across greater Cincinnati, including Brighton Center, Children’s Home, Civic Garden Center, Empower Youth, Go Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, Holy Spirit Pantry, Hoxworth, Matthew 25 Ministries, Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky, Project Linus, Redwood, River Ridge Elementary School, Santa Maria, St. Vincent de Paul, Thornwilde Elementary, United Way, Wasson Way Trails, and the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati.

Aramark Dining was the title sponsor for Saints Serve Day. Aramark provided t-shirts for all volunteers and served alongside University students in preparing sandwiches and meals for local organizations.

Sam Zamrik, Senior District manager of Aramark Dining, said, “When we were approached with the opportunity to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Thomas More University in such a rewarding fashion, we were immediately interested. Similar to Thomas More University’s mission of service to others, Aramark’s ‘Mission and Responsibility is Enriching and Nourishing Lives.’  We are honored to give back to the community we serve both at the University level and to the entire region as a whole.”

The day’s efforts allowed volunteers to share a rewarding and positive experience while generating long-lasting benefits for the community where they live, work, and serve. The second annual Saints Serve will be Tuesday, October 15, 2022, and the University is already coordinating projects with local organizations.

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