Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer
December 24, 2013
Chaka Shipp, a teacher’s assistant at Clinton High School, has worked with students before holiday break to give away blankets to warm neighborhood locals during the winter months.
Shipp, who is the adviser for Clinton High’s Ebony Club, said this is the second year the club has embarked on the blanket project, one she said they plan to continue, hoping for an increase in donations over the next few years.
To prepare for the blanket drive, Shipp sends out an email to the Clinton City Schools requesting that the schools collect any gently used blankets or quilts that they can distribute. The blankets and quilts are delivered to those in need in the area in conjunction with the food bank at First Baptist Church, 900 College St., Clinton. Persons in need, which Shipp said often includes the homeless and elderly, receive the blanket when they picked up their food bank donations.
The First Baptist Church food bank pick-ups are every Wednesday from noon until 2 p.m.
“This was just something that I thought of,” said Shipp. “One day I was in the house cleaning up and realized there was a need.” Shipp said she did not know of anyone else doing a blanket drive, one, she said, she and her students thought was a good idea, meeting a need within the community. Pairing up with the local church, she added, only made a good idea even better.
She said that over the last two years, when the requests for blankets went out, the call was answered, with more and more blankets and quilts coming back to the club for distribution.
“I knew someone out there needed something,” said Shipp, offering her thanks for the club being able to help meet that need.
This year the club collected some 40 blankets; a year ago, the number was up a little, at 60.
“We hope to see our collection grow next year,” Shipp said. “We are thankful for every donation.”
The CHS Ebony Club is a community service club whose motto is “Slowly changing lives by coming together and serving the community.” Shipp has been an adviser with the Ebony Club for five years.
“Wherever or whoever calls us or needs us, we’re there,” said Shipp. The club, she said, has participated in a variety of activities over the past several years, and the students enjoy giving something back to the community.
Students say community outreach was one reason they joined the club in the first place.
“The reason I joined the Ebony Club is because I love to volunteer and help people,” said student Michael R. Huff. The Ebony Club usually adopts a family through DSS, as well as participates in the NAACP Banquet and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet. In the past they have helped with canned food drives and helped at Democratic headquarters locally.
“I do like the Ebony Club for its casual environment and the harmony that is wit in it,” commented student Zekiah Jackson. “This is a new experience for me, but slowly I have been warming up to the club. I always have enjoyed my stay at every meeting that I have attended.”
The Ebony Club is planning a trip to Atlanta for spring break. The group will be going to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, the Coke museum, the Atlanta aquarium, and other places. The trip is planned for April 18 through the 20 and the group is seeking donations and sponsors to assist with financing the trip.
“I joined Ebony Club because of the numerous things we do to help out people in our community,” said club member DeAsia Edwards. “I really do love being a part of it and our community loves the things we do as well.”
The Ebony Club has been at Clinton High School for over 20 years. Next up on their agenda is working at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet that will be held at the Agri-Expo Center in January.
To contact the Ebony Club, call Shipp at 910-592-2067 extension 6252 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at email@example.com