The Bennion Center November 21, 2016. Adam Fondren, Utah Chronicle.

The Bennion Center, located in the Union Building, is a great place to connect with volunteer opportunities — especially during the holiday season.

To kick off the season, the Bennion Center hosted a Day of Service on Saturday, Nov.19 at Palmer Court, where a team of volunteers from the U cleaned the facilities, offices and grounds of the transitional housing development.

Palmer Court serves as housing for those who are struggling with homelessness currently, have done so in the past, or are on the verge of homelessness. The staff focuses on social work and getting their residents back on their feet.

Bryce Williams, community outreach coordinator for the Bennion Center, said that a representative from Palmer Court called over the summer to make sure the volunteer group was coming back this year. Williams said that these are the kinds of projects that the community needs and depends on, and they are only possible with student help.

Students can also drop in at the Bennion Center offices and give service with a variety of projects on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are put to work knitting hats for newborn babies at Primary Children’s Hospital — an especially important task in winter months — or writing holiday cards to men and women in the military. Students also have the choice to tie blankets for refugee families in the community.

The Bennion Center is working on a new program for students to make key chains for elementary schools to give out as a reward for good behavior.

The next major volunteer opportunity is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 21. Volunteers will be sent to different locations to help organizations like the Utah AIDS Foundation,  Big Brothers Big Sisters Utah and American Red Cross.

Participating students will knit hats, give company to elderly members of the community, deliver food boxes for the Utah Food Bank, clean various organizational facilities and survey homes in the area for smoke detectors.

For ongoing volunteer involvement, students can fill out the volunteer interest form located on the Bennion Center’s website.

Students can select up to three organizations that collaborate with the Bennion Center and within two to three business days a representative from that group will reach out with instructions for getting involved.



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