The boxes of books and bins of food at Williams-Brice Stadium were but another sign of the community’s generosity.
For nearly a week, Columbia residents have joined a fraternity of giving as part of the inaugural One Columbia CityServe effort, and Friday, several dozen University of South Carolina students added their hands to that outreach.
“We’re not just here to learn, but we’re also here to make an impact on the community,” said USC student Mitchell Hammonds.
Hammonds and other students were at the stadium to collect books for Cocky’s Reading Express, a statewide elementary school reading initiative, along with food for Harvest Hope Food Bank. Residents dropped off donations for one or both organizations at a drive-thru donation station.
“I think it really shows the impact students have as part of this community,” Hammonds said.
USC junior Rachel Price, who has been involved with Cocky’s Reading Express since the summer of her freshman year, said the CityServe event was a natural outgrowth of that work.
“We want to spread literacy in our state,” Price said. “It’s really rewarding to be able to give back and to definitely see the impact.”
Friday’s outreach was not the first for USC in the week of service.
Last weekend, several students helped replace the roof of an area resident as part of another project.
“It’s a good way for us to interact with the community,” Hammonds said.
The inaugural CityServe effort is being coordinated by the mayor’s office and is intended to encourage and promote acts of community service and volunteerism. The week has drawn from several sectors of the community including government, education, business, military, civic and others.
Several hundred volunteers have taken part in upwards of 40 projects during the past week. Other projects have ranged from meal preparation for hungry children to river cleanups, trash pickup and garden restoration.
The CityServe program wraps up Sunday.