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SCC's MLK Day Food Drive tops 25,000 lb. Goal

posted Jan 22, 2010, 1:47 PM by Jonathan Phillips   [ updated Jan 26, 2010, 2:44 PM ]
Question: Can a group of Shoreline Community College students who find inspiration in the words and example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., collect 25,000 pounds of donated food in just one day?


Answer: No, they can collect 26,233 pounds in one day, add to the total the next day and then donate it all to local food banks.

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day was declared a national day of service by Congress in 1994,” said Kaelyn Caldwell, SCC’s service-learning coordinator. “What better way to honor Dr. King than to bring a community together to help others on his day?”


The project involved putting donation sites and volunteers in front of nine participating grocery stores across the north end of King County on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. While the project was coordinated through the Center for Service Learning, Caldwell also worked with SCC Veterans Center coordinator Jonathan Phillips and student Ava Munson, who serves in student government as Minister of Social Justice. A number of college administrators and staff also volunteered for the project.


Funding for effort came from the Dr. Ronald E. Bell Student Leadership Fund through the SCC Foundation.  “Local food banks and the people who rely on them are suffering. Demand is increasing while donations are not,” Caldwell said.  Food banks in the Shoreline/North Seattle area have reported a 30 percent increase in the use of their emergency food services, she said.


The drive’s goal was ambitious, to collect 25,000 pounds of food. What seemed an audacious target at the start of the day began to look attainable as the donations piled up. After the 5:30 p.m. project close, volunteers brought the donations back to campus.  The total surprised even the most committed volunteers. “We gathered 26,233 pounds of food,” Caldwell said. “Surpassing our goal was really gratifying.”


The drive continued Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the school with more donations from students, faculty and staff. “This is a great example of what service learning is all about,” Caldwell said. “It’s taking the lessons of the classroom into the community, putting learning to work.”  All donations will be distributed to partnering food banks, including: Hopelink, the Greenwood Food Bank and North Helpline/Lake City Food Bank.  


In October, 2007, the college joined Washington Campus Compact, a statewide coalition of colleges and universities to promote service learning.  Washington Campus Compact has a grant from AmeriCorps*VISTA to help serve people in poverty through service learning.


SCC Jim Hills