College of Fine Arts to collect items for Cabell County school pantries

The  College of Fine Arts will host “Pack the Backpack,” an event to collect items for Cabell County school pantries, Tuesday, Nov. 13, on the Huntington campus.

Jaye Ike, special projects coordinator for the College of Fine Arts, said students from the college’s Student Leadership Council have organized this initiative in an effort to help stock the school pantries. The students will collect items like nonperishable food, toiletries, bedding and more from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center.

Theresa Rapp, career specialist at Huntington High School, said that donations are greatly appreciated.

“I want to assure you that every single donation, regardless of the size, is certainly needed and appreciated by the students at Huntington High School,” Rapp said.

“Every day I encounter a student in need of food or personal care items such as shampoo, deodorant or soap.  I am very grateful that the MU students are extending their support to the community at Huntington High. What a blessing!”

For members of the council, this is an effort to give back to the community that surrounds the campus.

“We believe as the College of Fine Arts Student Leadership Council that giving back to the community is not only a necessity, but that it builds and fosters a spirit among COFA students that cannot be accomplished in any other way,” Bradlee Jordan, theatre student and SLC president, said. “When we heard that some schools are trying to ramp up their pantries before Thanksgiving break so they can send items with students who will otherwise go without, we were pleased to be part of the solution.”

SLC member and music student Shey Dillon agrees.

“As artists, musicians and students, we feel it is very important to give back to the community that supports us and this wonderful university,” Dillon said. “No one is more in need or deserving of this gesture than the many children of Cabell County who go without so many basic necessities. We hope that we can set an example that others will follow.”

Martha Evans, principal at Guyandotte Elementary, said she tries diligently to remind her students of the historical bond that they have with Marshall University and that this event is another example of that bond.

“By an act of the Assembly of Virginia in 1809, what is now Guyandotte was established as the county seat of Cabell County,” Evans said. “The founding fathers of this community built a school and when their sons had completed the standard education offered there, they wanted more for their sons, so they established ‘Hometown Academy,’ which eventually became Marshall Academy, the forerunner of Marshall University.  Therefore, Guyandotte exists at the very heart of Marshall University and we continue to respect that heritage.”

“I want our students to realize that connection,” she said. “I want them to know that if college is the path they want to follow – they can. We want them to connect with Marshall, and eventually attend. My goal is for them to know that they can pursue a college education.”

For more information, contact Ike by phone at 304-633-9251 or by e-mail at