In Class News

November 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Students Reflect on World Food Day Food Drive

Students take food drive donation to Good Works.

Students take food drive donation to Good Works.

The Wealth and Poverty theme hosted a food drive in October to help fight hunger in the Athens community. The drive challenges students to figure out how to motivate other students, and even how to deal with theft and a competing food drive.

Along with Wealth and Poverty faculty members, students of CAS 2300 Themes in Action and CAS 2402x Transitions placed food collection boxes at various key locations throughout campus, including residence halls.

Toward the end of October when the students and faculty members started dropping off their collection boxes at her office in Clippinger, Dr Yeong Kim, Associate Professor of Geography and coordinator of the Wealth and Poverty theme, said her office was “literally overflowing with food items” and she had to put them out in the hallway.

On Nov. 2, Emily Axe and Doug Schmaltz of Good Works brought their truck to pick up the food items collected. Axe expressed her sincere appreciation to those who helped her load up the many heavy boxes as well as who contributed to this drive.

The following two essays describe how they encouraged their friends to donate.

Lauren Conner with her food drive box

Lauren Conner with her food drive box

Lauren Conner, Freshman

Majoring in Urban Planning and Sustainability, with Wealth and Poverty Certificate

World Food day is celebrated on Oct. 16! For those who acknowledge the date, this is a day where people all over the world make an effort to stop hunger globally and within their own communities. For the month of October, Wealth and Poverty conducted a food drive across Ohio University’s campus. At the end of the month, the collected items were then taken to Good Works, a local organization that assists those who are struggling with hunger and homelessness in rural Appalachia.

At the beginning of October, I stopped into Dr. Yeong Kim’s office to pick up my donation box and information flyers to pin around the hallways. I decided to place my donation box and posters in my residence hall.  I live in Gamertsfelder, which is located on Ohio University’s East Green.

Luckily, this is one of the larger residence halls on campus, so there was no excuse to have nothing but an overflowing donation box!

I placed my donation box in the middle of the second floor of my residence hall. Gamertsfelder is shaped like an “I,” and the second floor gets a lot of foot-traffic, so I strategically placed the box where residents would be able to see it the most. I taped my informational posters within the stairwells so those who live on the third and fourth floors would also be informed about the food drive on the way up to their rooms.

After my donation box was in position, I decided to send out information. To get the word out about the food drive quickly and efficiently, I decided to send out two group chats, one to my residence hall floor and one to my Learning Community. I informed everyone about the timeline of the food drive, the non-perishable food item collection, and where all the donations would be donated.

At first, I was a bit let down about the initial response. When I placed the donation box in the hallway, I placed items that I was donating to get the box started. I placed three items in the box, and then by the end of the second day, I had four other donations. However, the four items slowly disappeared by the end of the week as some people were stealing out of the donation box.

I knew that items may potentially be stolen out of the box. As I said before, my residence hall is large and gets a lot of foot-traffic. I prepared myself for this possibility and would hope that others would step in and eventually the giving would override the stealing. As the month went on, at about the second week, the box was completely full of non-perishable items! I would check on it frequently and noticed that items would disappear over time, for example the Ramen and macaroni and cheese; however, even though these items were taken out of the box, they were eventually replenished by other’s donations.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the amount of food I was able to collect for the food drive for Good Works. The response from my roommates and friends has been wonderful. I did not expect to receive so many to contributions to help those in need. I was happy to be a part of the month long, campus wide food drive.

Heather Robinson's food drive box

Heather Robinson’s food drive box

Heather Robinson, Junior

Majoring in Psychology

I was putting out the fliers in Mackinnon Hall when I discovered that there was already a food drive on the first floor of Mackinnon, so I was forced to confine my food drive to the second floor of Mackinnon. This, however, did not impede my efforts or lower my bounty.

On Oct. 31 when I collected my box, I compared it to the box on the lower floor. My box had quadruple the amount that of the first-floor box. I asked the person running the first-floor food drive why they thought there was a difference and they replied they did not put the word out other than fliers.

I put out fliers, put it on social media, knocked on some doors, and asked my friends. By spreading the word, telling people about world food day, and telling them I am helping the hungry of the community for class, people respond positively.

I believe people like the tangible idea of helping someone in front them (me helping with my class) and helping the people they can’t see but feel a connection to (the people of the community). I also believe people enjoyed watching the box get full as time went through.

Some people just donated what they had laying around, such as a bag of Romen or a bag of microwaveable popcorn. People often have non-perishables they come to have by way of parents stocking them up, then they find they do not like it or forgot they have it. This is what I reminded the people of my floor, and sure enough little donations of random items appeared.

Then I put out the suggestion of people who had flex meal plan could use their meals swipes at the end of the week to get one thing for the box. I told them to think of others who are not as fortunate as them to get a meal plan and that they depend on generosity of others to fill the food pantries.

I got a few people who I labeled as conservatives, who told me that people got nowhere in life by getting handouts, and if people really want food they should work for it. I was disappointed by the few people I encountered like this, but I respected their opinions and just let them be. Other than the few bad seeds, I believed that the food drive was well received and people, even poor college kids, were willing to help others. I am happy with my efforts and my results. I am considering doing the same independently next year.

Wealth and Poverty theme logo

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