Collaborative efforts yield 2,000 donations to food pantry

Every year as the weather gets colder, the Center for Social Responsibility (CSR) sponsors a campus-wide food drive. Over the years, other groups at Ripon have joined in their efforts. The Department of Sociology and the Sociology Club have contributed to this larger drive for the past five years. Last year, the Student Athletics Leadership Team (S.A.L.T.) began contributing, and this year Sodexo food service has joined as well.

“We have been participating in the drive since the last week of October,” says Elizabeth Erdmann, the Sociology Club president. “Our goal was to raise 500 items.”

As a means to get people involved in the drive, Marc Eaton, assistant professor of sociology, and Jacqueline Clark, associate professor of sociology and chair of the department, offered rewards to students in their classes for every 100 items donated. Rewards included throwback photos of each professor, teaching in costume and students bringing their dogs to a day of class. The club also held two events to raise awareness on campus about the issue of hunger in America.

“The first was a screening of the documentary A Place at the Table, which highlights the issue of hunger and poverty, as well as their interconnections with other social issues in the United States,” Erdmann says.

The second event was a panel on hunger in Ripon and beyond, where four panelists — two faculty and two community members — discussed different aspects of the hunger issue.

  • Assistant Professor of Philosophy Josh Filler discussed food deserts.
  • David William Scott, Pieper Chair in Servant Leadership and assistant professor of religion, discussed his work in food pantries and networks.
  • Cindy Hayes Diemer ’73 of Ripon, Wisconsin, discussed her work with the League of Women voters in Ripon and a survey they did on the local school lunch programs.
  • Amy Pollesch, owner of the Ripon Food Pantry pantry, talked about volunteering her time to others as well as encouraging others to get involved in what they are passionate about.

The Sociology Club food drive came to a close mid-December, after collecting nearly 600 items. Clark says that the Sociology Club events were positive for this year’s food drive. The food donated higher quality than previous years, with more high-protein foods like tuna and beans. Clark also explains how important food pantries are during the colder seasons, as many people have to cut their food budget to afford heating. All the items donated will help those in need this winter.

This year was also the second annual food drive competition between different branches of S.A.L.T. Ripon’s group received second place in this competition, with CSR and Sociology Club items included in the total. Also contributed canned food items from radio station B104.7, Marty in the Morning.

Winona Holmes Robbins ’17 of Birmingham, Alabama, the student member in charge of the drive, said the club values giving back to their community. “Especially when we get to the holiday season, we don’t want anyone to be hungry. Everyone deserves to have food on their table,” she says.

The College Sodexo food service team collected 50 pounds of non-perishable items via the Helping Bags available in the Commons. Sodexo also donated 10 cents for every soup and 8 cents for every cereal package sold from The Pub. Students and staff also donated $28 total.

“There were a variety of ways for people to donate,” says Sodexo’s marketing and resource coordinator Jack Talbot. “We were pleased with this being our first year. We look forward to future partnership.”

Because of the efforts of many groups and students on campus, the College will be donating almost 2,000 items to the Ripon Food Pantry.

Megan Sohr ’18
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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