Hunger Action Month activities exceed initial goals

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief

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The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism raised over $900 during Hunger Action Month, with the money coming from numerous fundraisers and Coin Wars.

All proceeds will be donated to three local food pantries.

The Coin Wars competition, where different departments competed to collect the most coins, raised over $700 total, which was a “pleasant surprise,” Crystal Brown, assistant director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, said.

“We weren’t sure what to anticipate because we had never done that particular aspect of the program before. But even after the first week we had over $150, so we were really impressed,” she said. “It’s definitely something we will continue for next year.”

Nine departments on campus participated in the Coin Wars this year including the communication studies department, the Gateway program, the School of Continuing Education, the Chemistry Club, the Office of Student Programs and Facilities, Planning and Management.

The Health Education Resource Center, New Student Programs and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs also participated.

Facilities, Planning and Management won first place by collecting over $200 in coins.

Beth Gillespie, director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism said facilities employees were “in it to win it” from the very beginning of the fundraiser.

“We are really grateful that they participated and that they were so excited about making a difference in our community in that way,” Gillespie said.

The winning department was set to receive a pizza party as a prize; however, the Facilities, Planning and Management declined the party to save money, Gillespie said.

“That’s how awesome they are,” she said. “It speaks to caliber of people we have in that department.”

The $900 raised means the three food pantries will be able to buy about $3,000 worth of food for people in the community, thanks to the relationships they have cultivated with retailers.

In a previous Daily Eastern News article, Gillespie said for every dollar that is donated, the food pantry workers can up to $10 worth of food.

“That’s awesome. It just goes to show what can happen when you are doing good work and are excited about it,” Gillespie said.

The money will be distributed to The Charleston Food Pantry, Wesley Foundation Food Pantry and the Standing Stone Community Center Food Pantry.

The goal for Hunger Action Month was to raise enough money to donate $100 each to the three food pantries, but the volunteerism office exceeded its original goal.

Several volunteer and service opportunities were added to the Hunger Action Month’s initiatives that were different than those from previous years.

The new service projects included working the salad bar at a local assisted living home for Peace Meals, a senior nutrition program at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, working over three hours at the Charleston Food Pantry and serving over 130 families during the mobile pantry in Sullivan.

“Our time can have just as much impact as giving someone cash,” Gillespie said.

Brown said she liked how they intentionally incorporated a different type of service project related to hunger each week.

“I think that was a nice way to build in another way to get involved and feel like you can make an impact,” she said.

The organizers of Hunger Action Month used the success of each activity to assess if it will be continued next year.

The Stuff-the-Bus project that entailed getting enough canned goods to fill an entire bus was not as successful as the organizers planned, because there were several organizations collecting canned food, Gillespie said.

“So I think we will partner with another organization that is more established, but I don’t think we will do the stand-alone Stuff-the-Bus event that we tried to do this year,” Gillespie said.

Another new aspect organizers hope to implement next year will be finding new assistants to help with planning, promoting and organizing next year’s activities to replace volunteers who are graduating this year.

If there are students who are interested, they can contact the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism or email the directors.

 

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].