Food drives were once a huge deal to the students at Florida A&M University. At one time students could trade in non-perishable food and canned goods for hours of community service, but rules have changed and students are no longer able to get community service hours that way.
In preparation for the holiday season, there has still been a trend of food drives for community efforts. However, there has been a lack of participation and decline of donations, with question if not receiving community service hours is the reason behind the lack of involvement among students.
Lynette Boatner, who is over the Volunteer Service Program thinks students need to work harder and it needs to be instilled in students about the humanity to give to food drives.
“I don’t think that there is a decrease in food drives, but a decrease in donations. I really want students to know that it depends on us to help out our fellow man to make society a better place,” Boatner said. “In canned food drives, we know that there is somebody who needs that. If you can give, give. Let’s really live up to our motto, ‘Excellence with caring.’”
In order for students to receive community service hours through the Office of Student Activities, students are required to participate in community events or participate in food drives that happen on campus.
Jasmine Fowler is a fourth-year business administration student who believes that it is fair that OSA implemented the change in the trade-off between non-perishable canned goods and community service hours.
“People were just getting hours for buying food instead of actually putting forth effort and working for their hours,” Fowler said.
Campus and community team leader, Chalion Belchie, said that there has been a lack of commitment on the student’s part.
“The reason why we don’t have as much participation as we did is because people don’t want to give unless they’re actually getting something back in return,” Beliche said.
The decrease in food drives are not only affecting students and their way of receiving community service hours, but more importantly, it is affecting the people who are benefiting from the food drives in the FAMU community.
During the holiday season, one way that students can receive community service hours on campus is by helping decorating boxes for food drives and toy drives. However, volunteer hours will not be awarded for donating canned goods.
The Volunteer Service Program has put together a Thanksgiving food drive called “Project 130,” which provides Thanksgiving baskets to 130 families in need in the local community. Project 130 began Wednesday, Nov. 1 and will end Monday, Nov. 20.
Students and organizations can also participate by decorating and providing food baskets. Students can go to the OSA building located on the Set between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and fill out the “Project 130” pledge form and turn all baskets in by noon on Nov. 20.
For more information about volunteer opportunities and community service hours, students can contact Lynette Boatner in the Volunteers Service Program at 850-599-3400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.