Hobo Day event helps combat food insecurity on campus


Jordan Rusche, Lifestyles Editor (She/Her)

The spirit of Hobo Day has not faded this year despite the challenges of COVID-19. Some events, like the annual Bum-A-Meal, have transitioned into a way to more closely help the community instead.

Give-A-Meal, a weeklong event from Oct. 26-31, is an opportunity for South Dakota State University students, staff and alumni to give back to the community through monetary and physical donations to Jack’s Cupboard, a food bank on campus for students in need.

“It’s a positive idea to help students,” Kendra Eichten, the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, said. “I know some students who are running low on block [meal plans], so this [Jack’s Cupboard] helps them get through the rest of the semester.”

Those who wish to donate are encouraged to either drop off items at the various locations both on campus and in the Brookings community. Some needed items include rice, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, bread, toiletries, snack items and many others.

Another option is making a monetary donation through Rabbit Raisers, a fundraising platform for a variety of causes including Jack’s Cupboard.

According to Eichten, the funds provided through these donations go towards purchasing perishable items like milk, eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables, along with any other necessary products. The ongoing fundraiser is currently half-way to its $10,000 goal.

Give-A-Meal was created to fill the space left by Bum-A-Meal, the traditional Hobo Day event where students are hosted by members of the Brookings community and given free meals. Due to the pandemic, this event would not be possible this year, so an alternative had to be found.

“We as a committee wanted to continue the Bum-A-Meal tradition, since this is a favorite,” Eric Sundall, an events coordinator on the Hobo Day committee, said. “It was decided that a food drive for Jack’s Cupboard would replace Bum-A-Meal this year. All collections go towards students in need.”

Though the event is different than what is expected during the week of Hobo Day, Sundall feels Give-A-Meal still incorporated the Hobo Day spirit.

“Hobo Day is about community and making everyone feel welcome,” he said. “This event helps those in need and makes the community a better place.”

As for next year, though the committee would like to bring back Bum-A-Meal, there’s no telling what the future may hold for this brand new event.

For more information on donation sites on campus, plus a full list of requested items, visit the Give-A-Meal page on the sdstate website under Hobo Day 2020.