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Social Work Students Provide Hurricane Supplies for Low-Income Seniors

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By Karen Guin

Selected clients of the nonprofit Seniors First will receive boxes of hurricane-relief supplies in the coming week thanks to the efforts of social work students from the University of Central Florida.

Thirty students spent weeks gathering boxes and soliciting supplies to create individual "Hurricane Supply Kits" as part of a summer course taught by Associate Professor Eileen Abel. They collected donations of some items, such as water bottles, fleece blankets, first-aid kits and coolers, from local merchants. Other supplies, such as canned and boxed food, came from generous individuals. The students also raised about $500, enabling them to purchase a hand-held radio for each senior and extra blankets, coolers and flashlights.

The class met on July 28 to assemble the kits. The students created stations for preparing cardboard boxes and sorting supplies. And in an exercise Abel described as "organized chaos," they made 56 kits, adorning each with a group photo of the class.

The kits were picked up the following day by Seniors First employee Wayne Gardner. They will be distributed to clients in Orange County who are considered especially vulnerable, often because they have very limited resources and no family member living in the area.

"This will make a huge, huge difference," said Gardner, who is also an alumnus of UCF's social work program (B.S.W., '82). "Thank you so much."

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