DWU Freshman Food Drive organizers hope to set new record; more than 4,000 pounds collected last year
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Going door to door, students of Dakota Wesleyan University’s annual Freshman Food Drive hope to stock some shelves.
Every fall, freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to take part in orientation weekend, which is filled with activities to help new students acclimate to the campus, the community and meet new friends. One of those activities is the annual DWU Freshman Food Drive for the Salvation Army Food Pantry. Freshmen and new students will canvass the city for donations. This year’s drive will be from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 25, and residents will know the students by their DWU orientation T-shirts.
Last year’s food drive was an all-time record of 4,350 pounds, a steady increase from the previous year’s 3,994 pounds and 2011’s 2,400 pounds.
“The Freshman Food Drive is a tradition at DWU that encourages volunteerism in our students and gives them a realistic look at how a relatively small group of strangers can band together for just a short time and make a profound impact on their community,” said Brandon Vetter, campus pastor. “The food drive is about giving back to Mitchell, as well as introducing new DWU students to the university’s motto of ‘Sacrifice or Service.’ We believe in practicing what we preach.”
Some of the items most needed by the Salvation Army Food Pantry are: beef stew, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, canned tuna, beans of any kind, macaroni and cheese, ravioli, saltine crackers, soup, peanut butter, noodles, boxed potatoes, snack items (cookies, Jell-O, cupcakes, cheese and crackers) and cereal.
According to the Salvation Army’s statistics, 2,622 bags of food were distributed in the months of May through July in 2012 and the need has increased to 4,351 bags during the same summer months this year.
“The food pantry’s needs have never really gone down for quite some time, really since the recession,” said Major Linda Jones, of the Salvation Army. “When I first came here seven years ago, we were only servicing 300 people from the pantry, now we serve 600-900. The main reason, I think, that we’re not seeing a drop is that people don’t have full time jobs; they’re trying to do two jobs to make ends meet. A lot of people who come in for assistance are working but they aren’t working full time.”
The food pantry is about a quarter full and the DWU food drive will fill its shelves for the back-to-school months. The Boy Scouts’ fundraiser in October will also be a great help, Jones said. The food pantry has received donations this summer of fresh vegetables and has distributed them as the donations arrived, and Jones said they are grateful for any fresh vegetables people choose to donate.
The food pantry is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday, for donations and donations may be dropped off from 3 to 6 p.m. at the thrift store.
DWU is a private, liberal arts university associated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. For more information about Dakota Wesleyan University and other service learning projects, go to www.dwu.edu.