By Grace Murphy
As different holidays approach for different groups, the College’s Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) decided to take that chance to organize their own service project. The six organizations that make up RSL came together to hold a spring food drive over the past three weeks.
They teamed up with the College’s Food Recovery Network to collect and donate non-perishable and canned foods. The donation boxes sat near the Brower Student Center front desk and in the Gitenstein Library Cafe gathering items on March 20, March 27 and April 3.
The idea stemmed from James McElroy, a senior political science major and president of Catholic Campus Ministries. Inspired by their previous Thanksgiving food drive in the fall, he brought up the idea of having another collective activity to Nicole Harris, the College’s Health & Wellness Program Coordinator.
“I think most of it was us approaching that parallel point for the spring semester, and maybe having another food drive is something between religious clubs on campus to show solidarity,” McElroy said. “Even as that intersecting point between Easter, Ramadan and Passover, as just a way of paying it forward.”
The role of the College’s Food Recovery Network was to pick up and deliver the donations on April 7 to one of their co-sponsors, the Hopewell Food Pantry. Any monetary donations, along with monetary donations RSL has sent previously, were given to ShopRite. The College’s Food Recovery Network also worked with RSL for the last food drive in the fall, in which the recipient was the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
Last semester, students who donated were given a receipt of their donation, and were able to attend a movie that was attached to the food drive. This food drive had a lot of success and was a great opportunity for all of the organizations involved in RSL to unite for a collaborative project. Collaborative projects like these food drives typically happen at least once a semester, along with each organization's individual events they hold.
“All of the individual groups have their own goals and objectives, as far as their spiritual journeys and their community outreach that they do, and so they become very busy with their own organizations, goals and objectives,” Harris said.
Another one of these projects is one of the Health & Wellness program’s largest events, the Thrive Wellness Expo, which is coming up on Wednesday, April 12 near the Green Hall lawn. The event will feature many different clubs and organizations involved in wellness and will have attractions such as therapy dogs, massage therapists and raffle prizes. Senior history major and co-president of New Jersey Christian Fellowship is part of one of many organizations attending the Expo.
“All the RSL organizations are involved with Wellness, so at the Wellness fairs we all have a table of our own perspective on spirituality and wellness and just self-care,” Chandler said. “That’s another way we try to reach out to members of our campus as a collective group rather than our own individual organizations."