Collaborating for a Cause


Carlisle welcomes alumni-founded aid organization Sweaters and Sustenance

by Tony Moore

John Allen ’11 launched Sweaters and Sustenance (S&S) more than a decade ago in Washington, D.C., and for the past 13 Christmases the organization has been providing warm clothes and healthy meals to the city’s homeless population. Over the years, Allen has focused on building S&S’s volunteer base, and this year he is bringing the program back to Carlisle to get Dickinson involved.

S&S is now collaborating with Dickinson's Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice (CSSS) to benefit residents of Carlisle CARES, an emergency shelter and resource center for homeless families and veterans, and is working with Project SHARE, a cooperative food pantry, to involve more alums in Project SHARE's local efforts.

“I know that organizations like Project SHARE and Carlisle CARES do incredible work in the Carlisle community, and I’m proud to have helped out as a volunteer when I was a student at Dickinson,” says Allen. “With Sweaters and Sustenance’s proven impact in Washington, D.C., I wanted to give back to the Carlisle community in a valuable way, especially to the organizations that helped me make a difference in the lives of others when I was a student.”

And Allen is eager to enlist local volunteers. “The more people we involve in our work, the more we’re able to make a difference in the lives of those most in need,” he says, noting that S&S is currently helping CSSS raise money for the on-campus Giving Tree, which benefits those at the Salvation Army and United Methodist Home for Children in Mechanicsburg.

“Our goal is not only to support those efforts on campus but to continue the conversation with the leadership at Carlisle CARES,” says Allen. “As Sweaters & Sustenance grows, we’re looking to put more emphasis on children who are struggling with homelessness, among other obstacles, in their communities.”

Allen hopes the expansion to Carlisle will bring awareness of S&S’s work, as the well the work of local organizations, to Dickinson students and alumni. Dickinsonians who'd like to get involved can contact him via the S&S website or contact Donna Hughes, director of CSSS, at

For background on the origins of Sweaters and Sustenance, check out this January 2016 article.

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Published December 1, 2016