Molly Sackett

Miami University students in the Honors and Scholars Program are partnering with Interfaith Circle to spread awareness of the homeless and hungry through Operation Warm-up.

Their efforts will aid homeless families from the Over-The-Rhine area Feb. 12. Volunteers for Operation Warm-up, started by the Cincinnati Hillel in 1996, come together to solicit donations and make care packages called warm-up kits to give to the needy.

John Hummell, community service associate of the Honors and Scholars Program at Miami and the individual who brought Operation Warm-Up to the university’s attention, said he is looking forward to the event.

“This is one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in my first three years at Miami,” Hummell said.

Hummell stumbled upon the project while surfing the Internet for extra community service projects in which he and the Honors and Scholars Program could participate. Hummell said the kits often include items such as shampoo, conditioner, non-perishable food, coats, blankets and other necessities that provide relief for less fortunate Cincinnatians.

“The kits aren’t all the same, some will have different supplies,” Hummell said.

Hummell said that the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University, Hebrew Union College and now Miami are all combining efforts to help provide for Cincinnati’s homeless.

Hummell said the entire operation’s goal is to distribute 10,000 packages, a large increase from the 8,000 collected in 2008 and 300 in 1996.

Angie Chan, president of Interfaith Circle, said this new addition is invaluable to Miami’s various community service opportunities.

She said the event was important for both those who are making the kits and receiving them.

“Having more students communicate with one another is really valuable,” Chan said.

Hummell said local businesses and residents of nearby communities provided many of the supplies.

“Since it is the first year Miami is involved, we don’t want to get too carried away,” Hummell said. “I know that the other schools have contacted Kroger and Wal-Mart to give donations.”

Students can donate supplies for the kits through donation boxes placed in the Honors and Scholars residence halls around campus or the Honors and Scholars Office in Bishop Hall.

Miami will be sending a group of student volunteers to assemble kits on Feb. 11 and follow up with more students delivering kits Feb. 12 in Cincinnati. Those interested in volunteering should contact the Honors and Scholars Program at honors@muohio.edu for more information.

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