Organization collects household items to give to international students

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COLUMBIA - The International Friends Center will host a household item giveaway for international students Saturday.

The organization collected many household items from churches and individuals in the community, and it will give away the items to the students this weekend.

Some of the items include coffee makers, towels, curtains, silverware, children's toys and much more.

"Many students come from a foreign country where they can only bring two suitcases, if even that much now. Sometimes it's limited to one suitcase. They have to buy a lot of things when they come here, for their households, so we found it helpful for most students," director of the International Friends Center Shirley Colbert said.

International student Eleni Galata went to the giveaway two years ago. She raved about how helpful it can be to international students.

She said her favorite item she got at the giveaway was her brown ceramic coffee mug. She said it reminded her of her friends at home in Greece because she loved getting coffee with them.

"The day that I went there, I had no cups for coffee. So even though I got a bunch of really useful things, I still drink my coffee every morning in the same cup that I got from there," she said.

Galata said she thinks the event shows off how generous people in Columbia are.

"This perspective of someone's trash can be somebody else's treasure is really important and makes you realize how awesome Columbia is," she said.

Galata said she met many of her international friends at the giveaway two years ago.

She also said it's important for international students to go to the event because they can feel included in the community.

"Somebody cared about you and kinda felt how overwhelming it can be to just move to a whole new place. They wanted to help you out with that," Galata said.

The International Friends Center also hosts events for international students throughout the year, including holiday parties and mixers.

"This event also helps international students know where we are," Colbert said.

The center will accept donations through Friday for the giveaway. It accepts any household items, except large pieces of furniture.