Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Fundraising program exchanges food for pizza

Community advocates of Banks Hall are giving back next week with a simple fundraising goal and about 240 slices of pizza.

The event, Pizza for Pantry, began as an idea when junior social work major Ciarah Richmond visited Student Support Services and its food pantry.

“I’m usually always there, and I see that they have notes saying that they need more donations,” Richmond said.

Senior adolescent education and English major Henry Figueroa said he read articles about the pantry’s lack of supplies and decided to take action.

Figueroa and Richmond are CAs on the seventh floor of Banks Hall. As CAs for the first-year housing program, Figueroa said each floor is assigned a theme to work toward. Leadership and volunteering are their floor’s goals, so finding a way to donate to SSS seemed like the best plan to “put the student’s in the driver’s seat.”

For a donation of one to four non-perishable food items, students, staff and community members will receive one slice of pizza or donate five or more items in exchange for two slices of pizza. All proceeds will be donated to SSS, and all pizza will be paid for by the seventh and eighth floor CAs.

“People can get a hot food [at] that moment, in exchange for foods that they would have to prepare later,” Figueroa said.

Richmond said the choice of pizza seemed like the easiest — and most popular — food item to trade, especially for college students.

“Everybody always wants pizza,” Richmond said.

Figueroa said the resources that SSS offers, like the food pantry, are helpful to students like him, who doesn’t have a car and usually walks to get meals on and off campus.

Under Gov. Cuomo’s “No Student Goes Hungry” program, SUNY and CUNY campuses were required to provide food pantries to their students by the end of fall 2018 semester. PSU’s food pantry located in Macomb Hall started about four years ago, as a response to some students’ increasing financial challenges, particularly those living off-campus, according to a PSU article from 2018. According to Figueroa and Richmond, the demand for donations still exists.

“Having food that’s easy and convenient to just go there and get is pretty nice,” Figueroa said.

Figueroa said giving students reasons to give back to their community is a good way to solve issues that arise between floormates on campus.

“To do something greater than yourself, even if you can’t be happy with yourself, then you can be happy in a community,” Figueroa said.

Pizza for Pantry will take place Feb. 26 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Community H.U.B. in the Angell College Center. The leaders will record the number of items each person donates, their name and contact information. The first, second and third highest donors will win a $15, $20 and $25 gift card respectively.

While the CAs hope to advertise as much as possible, Figueora said getting students to give back to the community is more important.

“Hopefully, people will be as generous as we hope them to be,” Figueora said. “We are the driving force of the students to enrich this community.”

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