NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University highlighted the true meaning of the season by partnering with local agencies for the holidays to help Nashville families. Recently, members of the TSU Staff Senate, along with Second Harvest Food Bank, “But God” Ministry Nette Working For You, and Bethesda Original Church of God, provided over 14,000 pounds of food for 175 families in Davidson County.
Dr. Antoinette Duke, Director of Academic Career Pathways and Partnerships and a member of the Staff Senate, said the committee voted unanimously to volunteer through this outreach effort.
“This was an opportunity to truly address the food insecurity in Davidson County,” Duke said. “Connecting with the Staff Senate and seeing them come out and connect with community organizations makes this process so much easier.”
Duke said that approximately 50 TSU students, faculty, and staff volunteered by packing boxes full of meat, produce, canned goods, and more.
Staff Senate Chair Reginald Cannon also expressed gratitude for everyone who came to lend a helping hand, in support of the holiday project. “I am thankful to the TSU staff that came out to help in the effort,” Cannon said.
“Whether it was minutes or hours, their contribution was invaluable.”
Jada Vaughn, a TSU freshman from Michigan majoring in nursing, was one of the many students to volunteer. Vaughn said she initially came because of a class-required volunteer work but attended and stayed for several hours, enjoying her time helping and making connections while giving back.
“TSU students gathered at the food bank to help support the elderly or anyone in need of food,” Vaughn said. “It was good to know we were helping the community out, and I look forward to even more people attending next year.”
Shelia Elston, a member at Bethesda Church, said she lives in a nearby senior citizen complex and wanted to pick up groceries for some of her neighbors who didn’t have transportation.
“This is what God wants us to do, to feed the hungry,” Elston said. “This is a wonderful event, and it’s great to give back.”
TSU sophomore Calvin Pickett said it was great seeing community goers’ faces light up when they were given their boxes full of food for their families.
“I believe that it takes a village to raise a child,” Pickett said.
“I love giving back not only to the community but also to my peers. Seeing those faces encouraged me to keep going. We have a community behind us that is working and thinking, and I want to make sure we are serving them.”
Pickett added that he has been volunteering at TSU since his freshman year and currently serves as the community service chair for Build Institute, a professional development program for first-year male students at TSU.
He believes events like the food bank align with how TSU employees and students continue to uphold the motto think, work, serve, beyond the campus.