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A drive to fill a bus

From eNews, November 13, 2003

Two University of Minnesota students want to fill a bus with clothing. And they'll take anything you can offer, except underwear. Their "Winter Warmth from U" clothing drive for Twin Cities children and families will mark the end of the U's Month of Kindness celebration. The bus, a University of Minnesota Campus Circulator, will be parked in front of Coffman Memorial Union on Wednesday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to receive donations from the public and the University community. (The drive will begin in residence halls and University apartment buildings on Monday, Nov. 17.) Pillsbury United Communities, a Twin Cities nonprofit organization, will then distribute the items to local children and families in need. "Although warmer clothing is preferred, we'll also take T-shirts, and everyone has a few of those that they don't want anymore," says Surbhi Madia, a psychology and elementary education senior. "A couple of T-shirts under a sweater is a great insulator." Madia and John Barber, a premed senior, envisioned the drive a year ago while walking downtown on a first date. "It was a very cold day, and we had on hats; big, warm jackets; and gloves," says Madia. "We were talking about how we lead selfish lives in school, when the conversation turned to how people who don't have the little luxuries we have stay warm during the winter." They began discussing what they could do in the dorms--as both were residence hall advisers--and before long, they found support around campus and across town On Dec. 3, donors will receive hot chocolate and gift certificates from local businesses, including Applebees and Ben and Jerry's; radio station KDWB will broadcast live from Coffman Union; and Susan Hagstrum, the wife of President Bob Bruininks, will speak at 1 p.m. "More than anything, we hope families can be warm this winter," says Madia. For more information about the drive, e-mail Barber at or Madia at To learn about the U's Month of Kindness, see (link no longer being updated).

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