May 07, 2006
Students from Humboldt State University's Service Learning Center organized a collaborative, regional food drive during March and April, raising 5,392 pounds of food and an additional $3,181 for Food for People, the Eureka food bank.
“We started contacting community agencies, schools, and businesses along the North Coast in February, to see who wanted to collaborate on a project to help alleviate hunger. The response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Colin Phifer, a Service Learning intern and one of the student organizers of this initiative.
Partnering organizations in the North Coast community included the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Cascade, Boy Scouts of America-Redwood Empire Council, Straight Up AmeriCorps, ACT AmeriCorps at College of the Redwoods, Fieldbrook School, Eureka High School, Zane Middle School, First Presbyterian Church, Curves in Eureka, and Curves in Cutten.
On campus, the Service Learning Center worked with Ron Rudebock and the Dining Services staff to create a new system whereby students could donate a portion of their meal points toward the hunger-fighting campaign. In less than two weeks, HSU students donated a total of $3,181 in meal points. These meal points are being used to purchase vital, high-protein food supplies that will be delivered directly to Food for People, the Eureka food bank.
Nichole Hillyer, also a Service Learning intern and food drive student organizer, said, “This was a great way to get residence hall students connected to an important issue. Their contribution is really impressive and will help feed many families.”
In addition to Dining Services, other partners on campus included Youth Educational Services (Y.E.S.), the Residence Hall Association, and the Sustainable Living Arts and Music (SLAM) Festival planning committee.
The HSU Service Learning Center’s efforts are part of a nationwide movement, spurred by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger & Homelessness and the Feinstein Foundation, to combat hunger across the country. The Feinstein Foundation is encouraging broad-based student efforts through a $1 million challenge grant. Hunger relief agencies will receive a percentage of the $1 million based on the amount of food and money they collected during March and April, in proportion to the total amount of food and money raised nationwide.
“We’re still waiting to see how much the Feinstein Foundation donates to our community food bank, Food for People,” said Mike Cipra, the Service Learning Center’s Community Partner Liaison. “But regardless of the amount, I think our students now recognize that they have the ability to engage with the community in a non-hierarchical way, forming partnerships to create change. That’s an inspiring lesson for all of us.”