Education Major Rallies Faculty and Staff to Benefit Women’s Shelter

Posted Jan 27, 2023

Kailey Mishler ’24 

Otterbein education major Madison Simeone was inspired to turn a small volunteer opportunity into a larger coat drive with the help of the Otterbein community.  

Simeone was required to volunteer in the fall 2022 semester while taking INST 2006: Dimensions of Culture and Society with Dean of Student Engagement Melissa Gilbert. Simeone chose to volunteer at Sanctuary Night, a women’s shelter located in downtown Columbus.  

Simeone explained that Sanctuary Night informed their volunteers that they were in need of coats and other clothing items, which inspired her to start a coat drive on campus. 

“I reached out to Dr. Gilbert, and I came to her with the idea. We discussed it and decided to get laundry baskets and place them throughout the departments on campus. So I bought 10 to 12 laundry baskets and I put them all over campus,” said Simeone. 

With the help of Gilbert, department heads, and other faculty and staff, Simeone was able to get the ball rolling with her coat drive. Baskets were set up around different departments on campus, as well as the Courtright Memorial Library and The Point, making it easy for anyone to donate.  

“Dr. Gilbert helped me a lot. She sent out reminders to faculty and staff. I also made flyers asking for donations and put them up all over campus, and posted on my social media, as well,” said Simeone. 

Not just coats were donated, but also other essential clothing items such as socks, gloves, hats, scarves, and sweatshirts. Simeone noted that, in total, around 20 baskets of clothes were collected from campus. She was also able to gather an extra 15 bags of clothes from her family since she asked for donations for Christmas.  

“While dropping off the clothes, the women there helped me take the bags out of the car, and all of them were extremely grateful. It just goes to show that they really do appreciate donations and what people will provide to help them,” said Simeone. 

Simeone mentioned that she plans on doing a coat drive next fall as well, especially since she graduates after the fall 2023 semester. She also provided some advice to those wanting to lend a helping hand to those in need.  

“It’s actually really easy. I thought it’d be way harder, but with the help of faculty and staff, it was much more simple than I originally thought. With the help of others, it was less intimidating,” said Simeone.