If you think donating just one can of food to Rowan’s Thanksgiving “Adopt a Family Service” didn’t go a long way, well, we’ve got news for you. This year, the Rowan community donated enough food to help assist 156 families, breaking last year’s record of 120 families! Giving back must be our middle name.
Every box contained holiday-inspired food items like mashed potatoes, bread crumbs, string beans and more; the boxes also contained gift cards, so the families can purchase perishable items, for instance, a turkey! Rowan’s Volunteerism, Community Engagement & Commuter Services teamed up with The Families of Division of Child Protection and Permanency, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Glassboro and Paulsboro and Volunteers of America to donate the boxes to families living in the South Jersey area. More than 2,000 pounds of food were collected and many additional items were donated to the local food pantry.
After picking up a box from the Chamberlain Student Center, Rowan students, faculty and staff were able to fill up the boxes with donations wherever possible. The boxes either supplied a small, medium or large family with an ideal holiday meal. Once achieving the required contents for a family box, they were returned to the Student Center where they would be sealed and delivered.
Shelly Klink, secretary for Rowan Volunteerism, Community Engagement & Commuter Services, is simply amazed.
“Everyone involved in the Rowan community helped out. We got boxes from the Office of the President, faculty, student-run clubs and organizations, all the way down to individual students donating entire boxes themselves.”
Klink believes the future Thanksgiving “Adopt a Family Service” will continue to grow stronger, especially as Rowan continues to expand. Every year she has seen the Rowan community step up and prove that together we can achieve something great and truly make a difference. Not only did donations increase, but the number of student volunteers did, as well. Student volunteers helped seal, organize and deliver the 156 boxes.
“It’s really such a rewarding experience,” said one student volunteer as she taped shut the holiday boxes. “You get to see the everyday people you know just give, and give, and give to the service.”
It’s amazing to see what the Rowan Community can do, says Domenica, a junior who donated with the Achieving the Dream Scholarship Program. When she entered the Student Center room where donations where being collected, she was astonished to see the mountains of cans and stacks of boxes.
“Helping out with the food drive means so much because Thanksgiving is not only a time to be thankful but to also give back. Knowing Rowan gave me the opportunity to supply a family with a dinner they might not otherwise have is so humbling and makes me all the more thankful for the things that I do have,” said Domenica.
Anyone part of the Rowan community can participate in the Thanksgiving “Adopt a Family Service.” You can have a positive impact whether you are a group of two or 100. Clearly even a little goes a long way. Plus, there are many other ways throughout the year you can get involved and give back by volunteering at Rowan. For example, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region-Mentoring Program gives Rowan students the chance to become a Big Brother or Big Sister to a “Little” at a local elementary school.
Trust me, volunteering is the cool thing to do. If you are looking for ways to volunteer or want to learn a little more about how students volunteer at Rowan, follow this link!
By: Katelyne Ortega