Every year since 2004, hundreds of people line up outside the doors of the Career Education Building on the campus of Iowa Central Community College on the first Saturday in December to take part in the college's Share What You Wear event.
Share What You Wear is the campus's largest service project of the year, and those who line up waiting for the doors to open are on the receiving end of the project, getting to take home as many items, donated by the community and campus students and staff, as they need.
"Last year we probably had 800 people waiting in line when we opened the doors that morning," said Rick Sandquist, director of athletics at Iowa Central who has helped organize the event since its beginning. "Every year it just keeps growing. We served over 1,200 people in 2011."
Donations will be accepted today from 4 to 6 p.m. and all day Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the back of the Career Education Building where volunteers will be on hand to help bring items into the building.
"The donations are really coming in," said Sandquist. "We've already filled an entire semitrailer full over the past month."
Donations being accepted include new and used coats, clothing, household goods, bedding, toys and electronics.
This year's event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on the Iowa Central campus.
No one is turned away from the event, Sandquist said, and all items, new or used. are free of charge.
A gift wrapping section will be available for any items that will be given as gifts, and a free breakfast and lunch will also be served. Everyone in attendance will also be given the opportunity to select one new item to take home with them.
"We'll have doughnuts in the morning and sandwiches, hotdogs and chips for lunch," said Sandquist. "They can come for the day; we'll feed them and they can take whatever items they need home with them."
Sandquist expects this year's event to be even bigger than last year.
"The word is getting out," he said. "People seem to come from farther and farther away every year. Some people tell us this is their Christmas."
Such a large-scale giveaway event is something that could not be done without the many volunteers who help make it possible, Sandquist said.
"The teachers help, the students help, people from the community have helped by volunteering and donating money," he said. "It takes hundreds of people to make it happen and we couldn't do it without them. Our administration and staff always get behind this. We're really excited for Saturday."