February 27, 2008 (Jackson, Miss.) – In the last week, students, faculty and staff at Belhaven College rose to the “Gift Card Challenge” and raised over $3500 in personal donations for students at Union University.

From February 12-19, the slogan, “What can you do without?” could be seen on donation boxes across Belhaven’s campus, as students were challenged to give up money used for their daily cup of coffee or Friday night movie. Contributions were collected in the form of Wal-Mart and Target gift cards and cash to be distributed amongst the Tennessee campus residents. Many Belhaven students attached personal notes of encouragement and prayer to their gifts, as a way to connect personally with their counterpart at Union.

Blaise King, Belhaven Student Body President, said, “The willingness to act, the readiness to serve and desire to help, overflowed. It took no time for students to become part of the, ‘What Can You Do Without’ campaign. This campus has been blessed by the caring hand of God and knows the difference a little help can make in hard times.”

Union, located in Jackson, Tennessee, suffered an estimated $47 million in damages in the wake of the devastating February 5 tornado. The storm demolished nearly 70 percent of student housing, and left 716 of the university’s 1800 on campus students without cars, personal belongings, or a roof over their heads.

Aware the Federal government and other disaster relief organizations would award grants to aid in reconstruction, Belhaven’s student body focused its attention on the affected individuals, who need help replacing everything – from toothpaste to cars. Pleased with the success of the “Gift Card Challenge,” Belhaven hopes other area colleges will follow suit and rally support for Union on their own campuses.

“It is almost impossible to imagine the hardships those at Union University are facing,” said Will McNeese, a Belhaven student and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Belhaven Leadership Council. “It has been amazing to witness the willingness of our faculty, staff, and students to give what they can, be it money, or an encouraging note. This alone is a testimony of God faithfulness to change hearts and heal wounds.”

For more information about Belhaven’s student fundraising efforts, call The Office of Student Leadership at 601.968.8990 or email, stleadership@belhaven.edu. And to keep track of recovery efforts at Union, visit www.UU.edu or www.uurecovery.com.