The Catholic Campus Ministries at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith is currently collecting donations of toiletries, clothes and food items for its Blessing Bag giveaway, with a donations deadline of Dec. 10.

The CCM is employing an unorthodox approach to the drive, with the majority of requested items being non-food items. CCM President and UAFS student Rene Manjarrez of Fort Smith said the giveaway is trying to supply items that are much needed but are normally forgotten about in the need to gather food donations. "Normally when people have drives like this, they’re canned food drives. There isn’t a big supply of toiletries and simple things that we take for granted and that some people just don’t have," he said. "I felt it was important to hit that target niche of things people need but just don’t think about needing."

Toiletry items being collected include chap stick, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissue paper, combs, shampoo, body wash, band aids, mouthwash and wet wipes. Clothing items requested for donation include socks, gloves and rain ponchos. Food items include gum, crackers, granola bars, trail mix and small non-perishable food items.

The drive will also accept donations of holiday and Christmas cards and gallon Ziploc bags.

Manjarrez said the drive was a way to give back to a community "who has given so much to us." "We felt it was time to give back. We’ve never done anything like this, and we figured Christmas time was the perfect time to start it," he said, adding that they would like to hold the giveaways annually.

Donation boxes are located at the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center and the Student Activities Office. For more information, contact Gloria Schneider at or 479-788-7663 or Manjarrez at