GVTV gives back to the community

Erika Collin

Instead of letting old clothes pile up, Grand Valley Television is offering students another option. This year, students will not have to worry about what to do with their old clothing and winter jackets, because GVTV is holding its second annual clothing drive.

“Last year, we could barely fit all of (the donated clothes) into two cars,” said Jamie Bartkowicz, the station manager of the student-run station. “We couldn’t see out the back window.”

The clothing drive is accepting clothing of all types and styles. The women’s and children’s clothing will be donated to the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), an organization that offers support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Men’s clothing will be donated to Guiding Light Mission, which provides services to the homeless and helps men get re-engaged into society after facing hardships. Both of these organizations are located in the Grand Rapids area.

“It’s helping a great cause,” said Jaret Grisamer, GVTV’s public relations manager. “Western Michigan is one of the coldest places in Michigan, and it’s hard to come by a good coat or just clothes to keep you warm. So it’s going to a great cause, and it’s helping every type of person: men, women, and children.”

GVTV’s clothing drive is accepting more than just clothing.

“Last year we got a lot of blanket donations, umbrellas and lots of shoes,” Bartkowicz said. “Something that people really don’t realize that other people need are toiletries. A lot of homeless shelters severely lack things like that so those are really helpful.”

Toiletries include items like razors, deodorant, toothpaste; even the small shampoos given away at hotels can be useful.

“The nice thing is that we go deliver (the clothes) ourselves so we see that it’s going directly towards (people in need),” Grisamer said. “We see it’s being given to people who actually need it.”

The clothing drive isn’t the only service GVTV provides to the local community. In past years, the station has participated in Operation Salutation, in which it opened up its studio to families of people serving in the military. The station allowed the families to record video messages and send them to their loved ones overseas.

“Every year we try to do something during the holidays,” Bartkowicz said.

The members of GVTV are also involved in Relay for Life and fundraise for that cause throughout the year. Last year during a 24-hour live broadcast, the station raised more than $2,400 for Relay for Life. This year, the station is also planning to have a date auction for charity, where leaders from an assortment of organizations on campus will be auctioned off.

The clothing drive continues from now until Dec. 6. There are three drop-off boxes located throughout the Allendale Campus: one in front of the GVTV office; one in the Women’s Center, which is located in the Kirkhof Center; and one in the Mary Idema Pew Library. There is also a fourth box located in the Steelcase Library at the downtown campus.