Sometimes, a little friendly competition is a good thing, especially if hungry people benefit.
Campus clubs, classes and even divisions are competing this year to see who can donate the most food and money to the food pantry run by the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).
The food pantry is located on campus in OCB 272. Due in part to efforts to raise awareness about the food pantry, more people are being helped, and supplies have been dwindling, said Samira Hussein, professor, business administration, and adviser to SIFE.
The drive to collect food and personal items for the pantry’s shelves is nothing new, but the competition is adding a new element.
Just as they did in November 2011, SIFE students are participating in Campbell Soup’s “Let’s Can Hunger” challenge. The corporation challenges SIFE groups across the nation and in Canada and Mexico to raise awareness of hunger, translate that awareness to action in the form of hunger relief and empower those in need to defeat the cycle of hunger.
Unlike the drive of 2011, the items will be marked with stickers – available in the Center for Student Involvement (COM 309) – to denote which club or organization will get credit for the donation.
Mindy Kinnaman, manager, student life, said, “I think a little healthy competition really brings the groups together.”
She has seen the same friendly rivalry when the club Invisible Children organized a penny drive for children affected by war.
In the SIFE food pantry challenge, the winning organization will receive $50 from SIFE, free snacks for the winner’s “celebration party” courtesy of CSI and recognition in the student newspaper, The Campus Ledger.
Quang Nguyen, SIFE project leader of the food pantry, said the goal for “Let’s Can Hunger” is 5,000 pounds, but he’s thinking bigger.
“I want to collect as much as possible. I don’t want to stop at 5,000 pounds. I think in the last year we have seen the need is clear; there is always a need for food coming in,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam who works a part-time in the college’s food court, said he’s honored to help with the food drive because he wants to “pay it forward” to a JCCC community that has welcomed him with open arms.
“In some ways, I don’t look at the drive as a project. I look it as a time for JCCC to bond together,” he said.
To that aim, the class Biology 235, General Nutrition, taught by Anna Page, has joined the CSI competition. Page said the 25 class members intend to donate food high in protein, calcium, vitamin A, C and iron. Another competition between the Academic Affairs and Student Success and Engagement divisions parallels the CSI effort.
Hussein said she’s looking forward to the results of the competition. “The more energy that surrounds the project, the better.”
You may donate cash, non-perishable food or personal care/baby items, like diapers. Cash can be taken at the pantry (OCB 272) or at CSI (COM 309). You can also donate through the college's online store. Food and other items should be taken to CSI if you would like a club or class to receive credit for your donation. General donations can be accepted at the pantry, CSI or at collection bins at these locations: outside OCB 272; first floor, Student Center, near the student information desk; and second floor, Science Building during the hours the college is open.Contest collections will continue through March 16, but because of next week’s spring break, organizers are making the big push for donations this week. Winners will be announced at the end of March.