The Honors Student Association at the University of Indianapolis held a canned food drive through the week of Jan. 23-27. The HSA is a new student organization in its second year of operation.
“We are still growing as an org[anization], and we are trying to figure out what works best and what our members want,” said senior nursing and psychology major and HSA President Ashlyn Williams.
The HSA plans to continue raising canned food donations for a while longer for Hunger Inc., a local pantry located on Emerson Street.
“I think the response was better last year, but it’s also still the beginning of the semester,” said junior biology and Spanish major and HSA Treasurer Kennedy Nies. “People are still trying to get back into the groove of things. But it’s going pretty well, and we are going to keep extending it and promote it at our meetings. By extending it, I mean extending it to our meetings by encouraging students to bring food.”
In 2014, 46.5 million people faced hunger every day, according to feedingamerica.org. Of that number, 12 million were children and 7 million were senior citizens. Overall, approximately 20 percent of individuals struggle to find a meal.
“We wanted to do something local to campus, something that was a smaller organization because there is stuff like Gleaners that—for lack of a better word—[is a] big corporation,” Williams said. “We wanted something that was more local, that we could actually see the benefit.”
According to the Feeding America, in Indiana there are one million individuals who are food insecure, and 15 percent of the population struggles daily to obtain a meal. The website said that food secure is defined as a “lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members …” Nies said that donations in the Indianapolis area have been decreasing the past couple of years.
“The donations have decreased, so it’s helping give back to people in our community, and not just when you give to the bigger organizations [where] you don’t know where it goes, [but] to help impact this area,” Nies said.
Last year, HSA had donation boxes set up in Schwitzer, the library and the honors lounge, but this year decided to use T-shirts to drive students to participate. Williams said that compared to last year, the donations did not stack up, with half a box of donations this year and two boxes last year.
The price of a small coffee at the Perk is $3, and according to Feeding America, the average cost of a meal to feed those in need is $2.56.
“I have done mission trips before with my church, and it does help them, even if it’s just the smallest thing,” Nies said.
The HSA will continue raising the donations in the hope that it will help those in need in the Indianapolis community.