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Send the spirit

Nicole Zook | Wednesday, November 17, 2004

In three years of writing news for The Observer, I’ve covered just about every subject Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s could possibly offer to an journalist. I’ve held the Board of Governance weekly beat, debated Catholic issues and written features about students who have become engaged, run the Chicago Marathon, or started clubs. I’ve attended lectures on topics ranging from photography to the Patriot Act to the “state of the school” address to the process of coming out of the proverbial closet. In this semester alone, I’ve had the opportunity to investigate how our community works with the elderly, the voting process, the new bookstore manager, student reaction to Labor Day and the recent dining hall surveys. I’ve interviewed everyone from professors and students to apartment complex managers and local restaurant workers.  I even spent one wild and crazy night attending parties around town to get election watch coverage.That’s not even the half of it – there’s a list a mile long, and it grows longer by the week.But earlier this week, for the first time in my long Observer News career, I was assigned to write about a subject that moved me to tears.Several groups on campus are currently holding drives to collect items for care packages to send to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving overseas. The Notre Dame Accounting Association will be accepting donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. all week in the Mendoza College of Business atrium and Army ROTC Cadets and ND/SMC College Republicans and Democrats members will be collecting contributions right up until the last day of classes. All items received will be sent to friends and family members of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s communities.These drives are asking you to donate little amenities like soap, sunscreen, chapstick, gum and magazines. These small things we take for granted will be luxuries to the men and women who receive them. Even if you don’t have the money to purchase items to send, I urge you to write a short note or Christmas card, or donate that Beanie Baby you’ve got sitting in the corner so a soldier can give it to an Iraqi child. While doing research to write this article, I came across letters from Notre Dame grads who benefited from the drives last year. Every single person who received a package shared it with other members of their platoon and said that it truly brightened their holidays. These packages boost troop morale at a time when spirits among even civilians can drop low. You will be going home next week for Thanksgiving, to share meals and laughs with your family. Can you imagine the kid – your age – who will be sleeping in the desert that night, thousands of miles from his family and home? I can. And I’m going to send him a little piece of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s spirit.