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Giving begins for this year’s holiday season

Submitted by admin on Mon, 11/15/2010 – 14:28

Stephanie Paulino

News Writer

Despite tough economic times and families struggling now more than ever, participation in the annual campus-wide food drive, Adopt-a-Family has not declined, according to assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs, Peter Troiano.

“People are still giving, they still recognize that there are others who are more in need than they are and it’s very encouraging to see that,” said Troiano, who coordinates the project. “I have not once heard someone say ‘I participated last year but I just can’t this year,’— everybody has some way that they can contribute.”

Adopt-a-Family boxes were delivered to different offices in buildings throughout the campus. Boxes should be filled by Nov. 18, for a 9:00 a.m. pickup on Nov. 19. On that Friday, the staff and students will deliver boxes to the Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis, also called the four Cs, located on Dwight Street in New Haven, said Troiano.

The most useful items to include in boxes are: canned goods (such as meats, fish, beans, vegetables, peanut butter, baby food, sauces, fruit and fruit juices) and dried goods (such as instant potatoes, dried beans, gravy, rice, cereal, polenta and powdered milk).

Troiano said the project started about eight years ago, long before he started his position in August of 2009.

“It was one of the first major campus wide events that I coordinated,” said Troiano. “I feel very good about it. It’s a great program. It’s very uplifting. The participation is great.”

Troiano said that when he started coordinating the program, he realized the Dean of Student Affairs office was spending too much money on the boxes themselves. Instead of buying them, he managed to get the boxes donated.

Averaging together the boxes, with two smaller boxes counting as one large box, Troiano said the university has been able to contribute a little over 500 boxes each year in the last couple of years.

This year, said Troiano, the Student Government Association is helping to step up the donating effort by spreading the word about the project.

“Student Government is out there now talking this up, talking to people and offices and really encouraging others to participate so that it is truly a community effort,” said Troiano.

Benjamin McNamee, Student Government Association president said last year SGA produced 84 boxes for the food drive.

This year, the group is changing their style, trying to reach out to more people through an established SGA student sub-committee, said McNamee, a senior history education major with a minor in political science.

Rather than sending out “blast messages” or mass event alerts, SGA representatives are approaching offices and club presidents, informing them about the event and where to pick up boxes. Anyone interested can pick up a box in the Adanti Student Center main office in room 325, said McNamee.

Representatives from SGA are working closely with freshman inquiry courses, and have reached out to Residence Hall Association, Programs Council and other organizations on campus, said McNamee.

“If Student Government spearheads the involvement, it spreads from there,” said McNamee. “Not that they wouldn’t do it on their own, but it’s more of a collaborative effort.”

Cheryl Burack, executive director of the four Cs, said Southern is the only local university that participates in Adopt-a-Family, helping to replenish its food pantry for families in the Greater New Haven area.

“It meets a tremendous need, especially now when everyone is having a tough time financially,” she said.

Adopt-a-Family helps to feed the 1,200 families in the area that the four Cs serves, said Burack.

“We’re very grateful that they’re willing to look outward and recognize the needs in the community and take an active role in meeting those needs,” said Burack. “Everyone here is really appreciative of the project. It’s a great partnership between the four Cs and Southern.”

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