When I think back to the event, it’s the kids smiles I will remember the most. The event was the Sodexo Helping Hands Across America food drive I organized this semester on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
In the past we struggled with participation because many students were interested in hosting their own food drives. This year, we all came together to host a campus wide event which was not only open to students, but also to surrounding community members! This year we also received support from the Greek community which made a huge difference in donations and participation.
On the day of our drive, the flow of traffic for the event was steady. We captured groups of faculty and students coming and going between classes, and we had the neighborhood Boys & Girls Club come over after school let out. Most of the games we had there were simple and geared towards the younger crowd, so the group that came over from the afterschool program had an absolute blast!
We planned the food drive with children in mind, so we had plenty of fun activities like hula-hoop contests, bean bag toss, face painting and a moon bounce! Just watching the kids run around and dance and play was fulfilling in and of itself. The ironic part is that several children who attended the event are recipients of assistance from Feeding America/Second Harvest Food Bank, so it was nice to know that we were able to give them much more than ever before.
At the end of the day we had collected 2,500 lbs of food (almost double from last year) and $180 in additional cash. I can tell you that we had plenty of surprises and prizes for our younger guests and not one child left without a fun token of the day in hand and a smile on their face!
In my view, the event was a success in many ways. We were able to educate the campus community about the cause, we were able to raise money and food for those children in need throughout our community, and we were able to bring that all together and celebrate it in a fun and meaningful way. We are already receiving inquiries about next year’s event!
Sodexo Helping Hands Across America is a national food drive which runs through November 12th, 2010.
Karinne Dieser is a marketing specialist for Sodexo at Lehigh University.