Students benefit from International Friends' Household Give Away

Saturday, August 20, 2011 | 8:00 p.m. CDT; updated 4:09 p.m. CDT, Sunday, August 21, 2011

*CORRECTION: This story originally misstated the number and names of churches that made donations and Shirley Colbert's years of experience.

COLUMBIA — With an orange ticket, a paper box with her name on it and volunteers to help move in, Jing Liao, a first-year graduate student from China, got a TV, carpet, towels, plates and glasses for free to add to her new apartment in University Place Apartments and to her new life at MU.

More than 120 student, including many international students, received cooking supplies, lamps, bedding, carpets and other furnishings in the Household Give Away from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at University Place Apartments on University Avenue. International Friends, a Christian association, organized 18 volunteers to help with moving and driving students home.

The items were donated by eight churches in Columbia — including Valley View Community Church, Woodcrest Chapel, First Assembly of God, Christian Campus House, International Community Church, Global Life Church, Grace Bible Church and Evangelical Free Church* — international students moving out of University Place Apartments and local citizens. Directors of International Friends, Shirley Colbert and her husband, Craig Colbert, have organized the Household Give Away annually for 11 years.

“It is a spirit we are trying to give away. Christians are not perfect, but we are willing to share,” Shirley Colbert said.

It took the Colberts a week to prepare for the giveaway and to clean and dry the towels, blankets and carpets.

“Shirley spent 25 years doing things like this,” John Pasquet, one of the volunteers from Global Life Church, said. He volunteered to drive to students’ homes and help them move items in. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive. It is really satisfying to share the blessing I receive,” Pasquet said.

Runan Han is a first-year graduate student at the MU School of Law. He and his roommates just moved to Columbia two weeks ago. He said it was convenient for them to come to the giveaway and get things they needed, such as a rice cooker, plates, comforters, cups and folders.

“I really want to say thank you to the organizers," he said. "It is so generous and sweet.”

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