Food Drive Harnesses Cafe Account Excess
It’s the end of the semester, and that means many of you have begun to anticipate a frantic, last-minute Gazebo binge in order to prevent your excess of cafeteria credits from going to waste. If you’re looking for an altruistic way to lighten your financial load, look no further than the Biophilia Food Drive.
In recent years, the Biophilia Club here on campus has suffered from a lack of interest. But this year, a few ambitious students took it upon themselves to revive the club, and their most recent project is focused on providing students with a meaningful way to spend their end-of-the-year meal plan points.
“When I did the Food Waste Awareness Week earlier this year, we received a lot of comments from students,” Isabelle Hwang (junior, biology, pre-medicine), coordinator of the Food Drive initiative, said. “One of the comments was that the money that is left over from student food accounts should be put in good use to benefit others. Because of that, the officers and I decided to do a Benton Harbor food drive for people with extra food money.”
Officers arrived at the Campus Center early on the morning of Sunday, April 16 to set up the donation booth, which included boxes to place donations in and a hand-drawn poster-meter to visually track progress towards their goal of 200 items.
“We set the goal for 200 items, because we’re not sure how much is actually going to come in, since we’ve never done this before,” Suzann Rangel (freshmen, biology), who serves as Public Relations officer for Biophilia, said. “But so far, the interest in the Food Drive has been great, and a lot of people have stated it's a great thing to do. By our second day, we were technically over a quarter of the way to our goal.”
The station will remain in operation throughout the entire week, through Sunday, April 23, and boxes will be available at all times for donors to drop off goods. To help give student beneficiaries an idea of what sorts of donations would be most helpful to their cause, the Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen provided the club with a wishlist for food items and donations, which is posted at the club’s booth. This list included items such as canned fruit, canned vegetables and serving supplies.
Being that the Gazebo only offers a limited selection of these particular items, the club officers have broadened and generalized this list to include dry and/or non-perishable items, which make donation options more readily available for purchase at the Gazebo.
“Cafe money is one of the most unappreciated at Andrews. So I’m trying to use the money for someone who can really appreciate it,” said Delaneira Kuntoria (sophomore, theology), who felt compelled to donate several handfuls of non-perishables that she purchased from the Gazebo. “I feel liberated, because now I won’t waste any money. And it feels good to know that this money is going to feed people in need.”
The booth also includes a "Food Matchmaking List" for students who are low on their account, so that they can be matched with a student who has a surplus of money and would be happy to support them until the end of the year.
“Biophilia literally means ‘love of life,’” Hwang said, “and Biophilia's main purpose is to generate appreciation for nature on campus, create and sustain environmental initiates, and support biology majors in their future endeavors. That being said, we are not a "biology-only" club at all! We are happy to welcome anyone who is committed to creating a positive impact on campus.”