We think of the holidays as a time of abundance—of traditions, food, memory-making moments with family and friends. But it’s also a time when absence is deeply felt, particularly for those without a home, food security or strong social support. So as we take stock of what we have to be grateful for this holiday season, it’s an excellent time to give back. Dickinson students, faculty and staff members are doing that in several ways.
In mid-November, approximately 20 students donated three hours each to the local Project SHARE food bank, helping to pack Thanksgiving dinners for local individuals and families in need, and 75 students and staff members participated in the Hunger Banquet, an event that raised awareness about global food-access disparities while raising support for the cause.
The ticketed banquet drew 75 students and staff members, each randomly assigned a group symbolizing either a high, mid-range or low global income level. The 15 percent of diners in the top-earning group were served a full three-course meal, while 25 percent received a slice of pizza and 60 percent received a plate of rice. They learned more about local, national and global hunger issues as they took in talks by speakers from the Salvation Army, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Project SHARE.
The Nov. 16 banquet raised $460 to purchase dehydrated meals for the Rise Against Hunger meal-packaging event, coming up on Dec. 3. Volunteers will package 10,000 dehydrated meals, which will then be distributed to families in the United States and around the world. “Our goal is to have 100 students, faculty and staff participate,” says Stephanie Mazur ’17, Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice (CSSS) community service coordinator, noting that any Dickinson community member can sign up to volunteer time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the EngageD website, or during the last week of November, at a dedicated table in the HUB.
Dickinsonians who want to help out but can't attend the meal-packaging event can donate to that cause at the CSSS office, during usual office hours, at a tabling event in the HUB or by clicking "make payment here" on the top-right corner of the Rise Against Hunger event page. Donations of money or goods to support Project SHARE’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners also can be made through the Project Share website.
Those who enjoy giving back by providing a present for a child in need can visit the “giving trees” in the HUB and in the library. Gift requests, written on paper tags, are hung on the trees’ branches. To participate, simply remove a request that you wish to fill, then bring your gift to the CSSS office by Dec. 3 for distribution through a local nonprofit organization.
Published November 21, 2017