Multiple student organizations sponsor food drive

Gannon students come together to spearhead university-wide effort for those in need

The+drive%2C+which+runs+now+through+Nov.+3%2C+is+collecting+toiletries%2C+food+and+school+supplies+for+those+in+need.

Bomberger, Ann M

The drive, which runs now through Nov. 3, is collecting toiletries, food and school supplies for those in need.

Natalee Stinebiser, Staff Writer

Gannon has a long history of giving back to its community and a deep commitment to service.

The university has been active in things like GIVE Day, tutoring and mentoring local K-12 children, and providing ABSTs for students to volunteer around the world.

Service is something that brings Gannon students and faculty together throughout the year. It is a pull for prospective students to come to Gannon and a way for first-years to get involved.

Another service initiative that the university has taken on is gathering and donating goods for local neighborhoods.

Throughout October until Nov. 3, organizations around Gannon’s campus will be holding a food, school supply, and toiletry drive.

All donations will benefit the schools and food pantries in the West Bayfront neighborhood of Erie.

For food donations, healthy and easily prepared foods are encouraged. The donations cannot be open or expired.

Contributions to this drive will benefit a variety of locations, including Gannon’s U-Knighted Store, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Mental Health Association of NWPA, St. Peter’s Cathedral, Strong Vincent Middle School and Pfieffer-Burleigh Elementary School.

According to an Erie News Now report released in September, food insecurity is something more than two million Pennsylvanians struggle with. COVID-19 has exacerbated this issue substantially.

In fact, that number is even higher this year because of the pandemic. Prior to this year, 2.2 million Pennsylvanians were considered food insecure. So far in 2020, food banks across the state have seen visits from more than 5.5 million residents.

For those who wish to donate, there are collection boxes all around campus.

Every week, each box will be delivered to a different organization that is in need of these items. Some items that are in high demand include but are not limited to:

  • Toiletries: deodorant, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, toothpaste, Lysol wipes, soap and hand sanitizer.
  • Food: easily made healthy, nonperishable foods, hearty soups, canned chicken and tuna, crackers, cereal, peanut butter, granola bars, canned veggies and fruit, coffee, jars of jelly, and meal replacement shakes.
  • School supplies: notebooks, planners or other school supplies.

Students can also donate via check made out to Gannon University and dropped off to Ashley Caldwell, GU Gold with a form on engage, or online to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

If you choose to donate online, please email Kayla DePalma at [email protected]

Gretta Schluster, a first-year occupational therapy major, is the coordinator of the food drive this year. She says that it is more important than ever to donate to the drive, especially with the circumstances of this year.

“Especially during the pandemic, students should donate to the drive because many people, particularly in Erie, are suffering economically due to job loss and other various reasons,” Schluster said. “The need for food, toiletries, and school supplies is high.”

“The drive benefits the local community by not only physically providing for people, but also showing our support and building a sense of unity with those around us. The pandemic has been very dividing, but by giving back and helping others we are building community and growing together.”

Donations are accepted through Nov. 3. If you wish to donate, drop off items in one of the collection boxes in different buildings around campus or donate by check, GU Gold, or directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

NATALEE STINEBISER

[email protected]