One can at a time


Organizations come together to gather donations.


It happened in various ways. Some built structures out of canned goods and food items, others were motivated by root beer floats and traveling trophies, but whatever may have motivated them, departments and colleges across campus helped to raise 7,097 food items for the Harvest Table.

Vonda Kirkham, coordinator of the Harvest Table, said the donations from food drives are given out on the last Monday of every month. There is a variety of items available and the different households are able to take between 10 to 12 items.

“We wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand if we didn’t have help from all of these groups that are willing to do the food drives,” Kirkham said.

During the month of October, the College of Arts and Sciences hosted a food drive for the second year. The college invited all departments to take part in this challenge; whoever won would be given root beer floats and a traveling plaque.

“We collected over 3,000 items for the food pantry [at the Harvest Table] plus $340 in cash donations, which also goes a long way in filling the needs that they’ve got,” said Lori Maher, a program assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Maher said the contest didn’t have restrictions on what people could donate other than it had to be nonperishable items.

“It was amazing to see how creative people were in knowing the needs out there that people can have so it was a wide variety of products that we collected,” Maher said.

The College of Arts and Sciences started their food drive last year after several staff members, one of whom was part of the advisory board for the Harvest Table, approached the college about raising food for the Harvest Table. Following the inquiry, the food drive was created.

The winners for the competition include: the Chemistry Department in first for the second year in a row, the English Department in second and the History and Political Science Department in third.

Another food drive that was going on around the same time was Pack the Pantry. In addition to serving a meal at the Harvest Table, the Faculty, Development and Leadership committee started a food drive that would get a majority of the campus community involved. The Harvest Table is a program sponsored by the First United Methodist Church that offers a no-cost meal on Monday nights,

Pack the Pantry was created by an initiative by the Faculty, Development and Leadership committee, which is comprised of faculty and staff across the university.

The food drive sponsored by Faculty, Development and Leadership is a competition, too.

“What we’re doing is a can count. We’re not doing the weight or anything like that,” said Kevin Sackreiter, director of the enhancement of teaching and learning. “How many items did your group donate to the initiative? We’re kind of running on an honor system when they come in, we’re asking how many items did they bring and we’re writing it down.”

Traveling trophies will be given to the units or departments that raised the most items.

“I think a campus is so much more than the campus… we need to have our reach into our campus and realize the impact we have,” Sackreiter said. “We have a lot of power in this community to impact a lot of people plus our resources and we have people that motivated so I think we have the ability to really dramatically impact the people of Brookings and help.”

As part of the College of Arts and Sciences food drive and the Pack the Pantry, various departments competed against one another to raise the most food. For the departments of the Architecture, Mathematics and Engineering building, they wanted to see who could build the best structure out of the donations they collected; it was called Building for a Cause.

Teresa Hall, a professor and department head of the construction and operations management, helped to organize the structures out of donations. There were three categories: Juror’s Choice, best use of labels and best Hobo stew recipe.

“We had three categories and ironically we had three entries, but it was really fun,” Hall said. “We mapped out space in the lab; it was open and you could pick your spot and go build and so ended up with very interesting structures.”

Math received Juror’s Choice for its structure created completely with a red and white Campbell’s Soup can. The Construction and Operations Management Department made their “attempt at a pumpkin, but we can’t make cans bulge out without having an avalanche so it ended up looking like a tower of baked beans,” Hall said. Architecture made the tallest structure. All donations collected were also given to the Harvest Table.

“[A]ll of us are so fortunate to have what we have and there’s people in this world who need and when it comes down to hunger right here in Brookings, that’s a cause that needs an answer,’’ Hall said. “Nobody should go to bed hungry.”