Volunteers Prepare Emergency Kits

 Oct. 25, 2011

Rod Surber, University Relations & Marketing or 417.625.9399 or 9365 

MSSU VolunteersJOPLIN, MO (SNS) – Missouri Southern State University’s Billingsly Student Center was a beehive of activity last weekend when about 200 students, faculty and staff assembled 2,500 emergency supply kits for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition effort in the Joplin.

Volunteers were brought together using a “Smart Mob” effort that is similar to the popular Flash Mob concept, which is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to perform an unusual act for a brief time, then disperse.

In a Smart Mob effort, the group assembles to perform community service. (Pitctured at right) Ashley Cook, a Senior Elementary Education Major from Joplin, was among the hundreds of volunteers who turned out to create the kits.

In Saturday’s case, the effort involved volunteers producing 2,500 emergency supply kits with items provided by one of EMHE’s major sponsors, CVS Pharmacy.

Volunteers set up a staging area for the assembly of the kits in Connor Ballroom, then filled kits item by item throughout the approximately three-hour effort. Volunteers were joined by Extreme Makeover designers Paul DiMeo and Tracy Hutson who helped assemble kits and motivate the volunteers.

MSSU Volunteers“We were extremely proud to be part of this effort to help members of our community,” stated JoAnn Graffam, Interim Vice President for Development and Executive Director of the Missouri Southern Foundation. “It was humbling to see the hundreds of MSSU students, faculty and staff give their time to join in this effort for the sake of others.”

The emergency supply kits will go to the families in the construction zone for the EMHE project and others in the area. “Not enough people are prepared for emergencies and we think this effort helps remind citizens to gather together these essential items and have them at the ready,” Graffam stated.

Items put in the kits included flashlights, batteries, cold packs, pain reliever, bandages, tissue, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, deodorants, snacks, liquid soaps, antibacterial wipes, water and other essentials.

(Lower photo at right) About 200 volunteers assembled the 2,500 emergency supply kits that included about 17 items each in just a few hours. Extreme Makeover Home Edition cameras were rolling and some footage from the effort may be seen on the program when it airs. The program's producers have taken thousands of hours of footage during the Joplin effort that involved building seven homes in seven days.