By: Stephanie Leger, For The Clock
COVID-19 has changed the way we all live, but it hasn’t affected our ability to give back to our community. From now until October 16th, the Office of Community Impact here atPlymouth State will be collecting cereal and other non-perishable food items to support local families in need. The donation bin is located outside of room 039 in the Hartman Union Building, and all students are encouraged to contribute anything they can. Food items can be dropped off Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00am and 3:00pm, and Friday between 9:00am and 12pm. “We are happy to be a part of the Cereal Drive and to support the broader community. We care deeply about food security on campus, so we also work hard to address food security throughout the broader region with our partners.” Jessica Dutille, the director of OCI, said.
OCI’s involvement was originally through the Day of Caring, a volunteer-based experience where students and other individuals partake in local community service projects. Dutille explained how the Cereal Drive has become an alternative approach to giving back this year due to COVID-19. She discussed the accommodations that had to be made to the original volunteer program, saying “the Day of Caring was initially a day dedicated, to engaging an entire community in being a part of various volunteer projects. Because of COVID-19, Granite United Way couldn’t facilitate a wide-scale, in-person volunteer program– so the Cereal Drive became a solution.”
Granite United Way is a trusted nonprofit organization that aims to support communitiesacross New Hampshire. They deliver nearly $14 million in support to struggling families in NH each year. Plymouth State has been partnered with the organization for the past few years, with OCI specifically stays involved in the various volunteer projects hosted by United Way. Their purpose is to help make communities stronger through volunteer work and other donation-based fundraisers, which has become crucial since COVID-19.
Tiffany Pena, the Director of Resource Development for Granite United, explained the mission of the organization by stating: “Our mission is to improve the quality of life for struggling families by bringing together the caring power of communities. We cover 80% of the state of New Hampshire as well as a region in Vermont.” Due to COVID-19, Penadiscussed how GUW had to shift their model of fundraising, which launched the Cereal Drive in lieu of the Day of Caring. “The Cereal Drive came about to combat the issue of food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic… we’re committed to providing local leadership that adapts to the needs of the community”. Pena said.
All donations made to OCI will be delivered directly to the Whole Village Family Resource Center, a center that supports local low-income residents with community resources and educational experiences to increase their financial capacity and resilience. The fundraiser might look different this year, but it’s still possible to get involved and support the community.