Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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United Mission for Relief-Austin hosts monthly events to help communities in need

Students+pack+winter+kits+during+UT+United+Mission+Reliefs+first+Project+Downtown+event+of+the+year+on+Feb.+7%2C+2024.+Project+Downtown+is+a+monthly+event+where+students+package+meals+or+care+kits+for+underserved+communities+in+Austin.
Naina Srivastava
Students pack winter kits during UT United Mission Relief’s first Project Downtown event of the year on Feb. 7, 2024. Project Downtown is a monthly event where students package meals or care kits for underserved communities in Austin.

From lotion to thermal blankets, students spent their day in a classroom in the University Teaching Center crafting winter kits. The kits contained a variety of essentials for donation to Saffron Trust, an organization that aids women in need. 

The UT chapter of United Mission for Relief focuses on local and international humanitarian causes. UMR hosts a monthly event called Project Downtown where students package meals or care kits for underserved communities in Austin. Their first Project Downtown event of the semester was hosted on Feb. 7.

“I think everyone enjoyed it,” said Nabila Sultan, psychology and economics sophomore and event coordinator. “We had a great turnout. We had a lot of students who had been first-time comers.” 


Advertising junior and co-president Fiza Baqai said this event, in collaboration with the spirit organization Texas Pearls, allowed students to curate over 200 winter care kits.

“These (kits) contain scarves, hats, gloves, chapsticks, lotion. Basically anything that the community needs to stay warm this winter,” Baqai said. 

Sultan said Project Downtown sparks a change that she enjoys being a part of. She said watching everyone as they put their kits together remains her most cherished memory from the event. 

“My favorite part is when it all comes together and when people are packaging all the items,” Sultan said. “We put so much work into making this happen, and now it’s in full swing.”

Neuroscience senior and co-president Ramsa Kazi said UMR partners with many different organizations to provide efficient resources for underprivileged individuals.  

“We’ve had a relationship with a lot of different places around Austin to tutor refugees. … We help the (unhoused) community through our Project Downtowns and coat drives,” said Kazi. “Project Downtown is where we decide to make care kits, heat care kits, meals, just whatever we feel like they need at the time or what’s necessary based on the weather and what’s going on.”

Baqai said UMR proves a low-commitment organization and the executive board wishes for students to “come and go as they please.” Kazi said since the organization helps a variety of communities, it offers opportunities for everyone.

“I think that everybody can find what they’re interested (in),” Kazi said. “Nothing’s binding you to be a member, … (but) the more people we have, the greater impact we can make.”  

Kazi said she decided to join UMR because she desired a more tangible impact when volunteering in the community, and Project Downtown seemed fit for this. 

“I had volunteered at many different places, but the unique thing about UMR that really drew me in was that once we made the care kits, we would go and physically hand them out or drop them off,” Kazi said. “It helped me visualize where my efforts were going and made it more meaningful to me.”

UMR will host a charity soccer tournament on Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the intramural soccer field. All proceeds earned from the tournament will benefit the UMR Palestine Fund.  

“We just want everybody to come and lend a helping hand,” Kazi said. “It’s also a great way to come together for a good cause.”

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