Five students have a pressing question for the UCF student body: do you give a sheet?
On Monday, The White Linen Project, an initiative with Volunteer UCF, tabled outside of the Student Union. They were accepting donations of linens, towel and other rags for homeless shelters. Shakera Quince, the founder of the organization, has a passion for social entrepreneurship and had been anticipating this day for months.
“We’re collecting sheets, blankets, towels, rags, all linens, of all shapes and sizes and we’re going to give them to homeless shelters and the Mustard Seed of Central Florida,” Quince, a junior marketing major, said.
Quince’s heart for the homeless started long before when she worked with the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. When Quince realized there was a shortage of linens, she tackled the issue head on.
“The reason I started this initiative is because so many people donate clothes, so many people donate money… but nobody thinks to donate linens. It’s so needed out there. You wouldn’t imagine that one little rag could be the difference between someone taking a shower one day or not taking a shower,” Quince said.
Quince said that they are accepting all linens of any shape or color. Originally they planned to donate the linens to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. When their policy changed to accept only white and brand new linens, they found another partner. It might have slowed college students from readily donating since students aren’t always able to purchase brand new sets of linens and sheets. So The White Linen Project partnered with the Mustard Seed of Central Florida, a furniture and clothing bank.
Quince spent the majority of last fall at the Blackstone Launchpad working out her idea and forming her team — currently composed of Tiffany Vandesande, Alyssa Ledesma, Katrina Poggio, and Chibundo Egwuatu.
“The Blackstone Launchpad was a major role player in launching The White Linen Project. I went there for coaching nearly every day in the beginning,” Quince said.
This spring, The White Linen Project, or TWLP, started in full force. They’ve set the bar high with a goal of 500 linens to be collected by the end of the month. Quince said they will be tabling outside the Student Union every Monday of this month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For anyone who can’t make those times, they are invited to drop off their linens at the VUCF cubicle on the second floor of the Student Union.
Their twitter hashtag for the campaign, #doyougiveasheet, has a clear agenda: catch students’ attention. Vandesande, a member of TWLP, said homelessness doesn’t have to be this taboo subject, and this hashtag shows just that.
“I think a lot of people think of it [homelessness] in a very somber light. But these are people, you know, they have emotions. They’re not always sad people. It’s not to have a laugh at it, but just to take it as it is. It doesn’t have to be this scary, untouchable subject,” Vandesande said.
If you give a sheet, you’ll be featured on their social media handles and will be actively helping fill the gap of the lack of linens in the homeless community. Check here for more information.