Military Veterans Club inaugural fundraiser is huge success

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Credits: Military and Veteran's Club at UIS Facebook page

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The Military Veterans Club hosted its first fundraiser on Saturday, April 8. The inaugural fundraiser proved to be a huge success for the organization, which raised over $500 and collected 350 pounds of food.

According to Ashti Dawson, president of the Military Veterans Club, the fundraiser went even better than expected.

“The fundraiser went beautifully! I expected it to be a positive experience; however, it still exceeded my expectations. The support of the student veterans, UIS, and Springfield community has been wonderful,” Dawson explained.

More than 25 individuals participated in the event – with most of the participants being military veterans or current student veterans at UIS.

During the event, participants were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items which were carried in a backpack as they took on a 3K at the UIS cross country course. All of the participants worked together as a team to complete the course – all beginning and finishing the course together.

Amanda Alvis, who is currently serving with the U.S. Army Reserve at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, acted as drill sergeant to lead the group and keep everyone motivated.

This event mimicked the rucksack marches performed by military members in which they load their backpacks with all of their equipment and hike for miles as a part of their military training.

The largest amount of food donated at this event came from the Kasten family – donating over 38 pounds of food, with the heaviest backpack weighing 28 pounds.

All of the food donations were matched by Hy-Vee, making a total of 700 pounds of total food donations. All of the food raised will be donated to the Central Illinois Food Bank.

The monetary donations made during this event will go toward purchasing club t-shirts and designating safe spaces on campus for veteran students. The UIS Office of Disability Services has offered to help fund the club t-shirts as a way to show support for the effort that the Military Veterans Club members have been putting in throughout the year.

Dawson hopes that the fundraiser has helped the UIS community become more aware of student veterans’ attendance and presence at UIS along with their involvement in the community.

“An event such as this brings veterans and their supporters together,” said Dawson. “I hope to gain more support for our veterans.”

The Military Veterans Club fundraiser and success was made possible through support from the UIS Office of Disability Services, UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, Central Illinois Food Bank, Hy-Vee, Scheels, 1 Stop Auto Shop, FitClub South, Friendly Chevrolet, Landmark Ford, and Chatham Café.

The organization hopes to continue this tradition into the future and work closely with their co-sponsors to offer more opportunities to veterans and student veterans on the UIS campus.