UCF Students Use Technology for Holiday Toy/Food Drive
For over 30 years, St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church has partnered with All Saints Episcopal Church to operate a Thanksgiving and Christmas store that serves more than 450 families. This year, they are going high-tech thanks to a service-learning project by UCF college students who offered their programming skills to help out this charitable effort.
Students in the Database Management Systems class were asked to create software that would build a database to organize the large amount of data that helps match families with items they need.
Beginning on October 1, 2014, St. Margaret Mary Parish registered members of the community for the Thanksgiving and Christmas stores using the new software. On Monday, November 24, those who signed up in advance will pick up food for Thanksgiving.
Anne Domescek organizes this effort and said, “You won’t believe how much easier this has made our lives. The administrative reporting is eliminating hours and hours of backroom hand counting.”
The Thanksgiving and Christmas Stores serve over 450 families in the area surrounding Winter Park each year, providing food for Thanksgiving and Christmas or clothing and toys for children of the households up to the age of 12. The data crunching for such quantities of food and clothing sizes is daunting.
“Professor Kien Hua of UCF told us his goal was not only to develop students into good professionals, but good people as well. We are so grateful for this great service learning project and for the effort of UCF, its professors and students. This has been a mission fulfilling endeavor which will serve hundreds of people in need throughout our community,” said Kevin Hagan, Director of Organizational Development for St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.