UIC’s SPARK organization provides clothes to those in need

UIC’s SPARK organization provides clothes to those in need

UIC Athletics staff and SPARK members pack a van with coats and shirts to donate.

UIC’s SPARK organization (Students Performing Acts of Random Kindness) donated more than 1,000 new clothing items to the Pacific Garden Mission.

SPARK, established in 2014 to help fight hunger and homelessness in the Chicago community, made its biggest one-time donation of clothing with the help of several athletics department staff members. They loaded 46 boxes of new men’s dress shirts and winter coats into a Pacific Garden van for the short trip from UIC’s Physical Education Building to Pacific Garden’s facility on South Canal Street. Pacific Garden Mission meets the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of men, women and children by providing meals and shelter, as well as through programs designed to combat addiction.

“SPARK received donations of over 1,000 dress shirts last year. We handed out about 150 of them, but thought it would be more effective to give them to a place that can reach the most people the fastest,” said Flames tennis player Alvaro de la Fuente, one of SPARK’s team leaders.

“It is nice to give back to the school and community which is supporting us a lot with scholarships and opportunities for education,” de la Fuente continued. “It’s also nice to get a positive reaction from people when you help them out, with the hope they will be inspired and reciprocate to others with acts of kindness.”

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