Sodexho Dining Services recently sponsored “Cans Across America” at the College, a one-day canned food drive held at Sodexho campuses across the country designed to break the Guinness World Record for the most canned food donations collected during a single event. With help from the Student Government Association (SGA) and service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, more than 370 pounds of food were collected.
The event took place on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Eickhoff Hall, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Brower Student Center food court.
“Sodexho has long been proud to support programs that work to end hunger,” Steve Hugg, Sodexho director of Marketing and Business Development, said. “This year, Sodexho Campus Services decided to make our can drive a bigger event by (having) as many of our campuses as possible do it on the same day and (trying) for a Guinness World Record.”
All Sodexho campuses participating in “Cans Across America” had to collect food on the same day, and the collections had to be monitored by non-Sodexho employees, according to Hugg.
SGA president Christine Cullen and Alpha Phi Omega treasurer John O’Grady served as witnesses, checking on the progress of the food drive and making sure that everything was added to the collection correctly.
At the end of the day, Cullen and O’Grady helped add up the amount of donated food. On the following day, they went with Hugg to drop off the food at Mercer Street Friends, “a great local organization that helps fight hunger right here in Mercer County,” according to Hugg.
“The individuals at Mercer Street Friends were very welcoming to us and the food,” O’Grady said. “They shared with us a little background information on their organization, and (told us) where (the) food will end up.”
“The staff at Mercer Street Friends truly appreciated (the) donation,” Cullen said. “They were extremely friendly and it was just really nice knowing that they are going to make sure the food that was donated will be received by people in need.”
Although Sodexho does not yet know if the world record was broken, “Cans Across America” was one of the most successful food drives to take place at the College, Hugg said.
“I think the results of this drive are one of the largest in recent history,” Hugg said. “This was one of the most successful drives I’ve seen.”
According to O’Grady, more than 370 pounds of food were collected. “This is amazing for just a 12-hour period,” O’Grady said. “I believe that this was the highest amount collected on this campus since Sodexho started this collection a few years ago.”
“I believe that the food drive was extremely successful,” Cullen said. “This was a difficult drive because we only had one day to donate food, but students definitely stepped up and really showed how much they care about the community.”
According to Hugg, “The nationwide results will be tallied to see if we beat the record, but regardless, we will help a lot of local organizations. If (the College) is an indicator, we’ve done a lot of good.”
Everyone involved with “Cans Across America” agreed that the event was beneficial for the campus community as well as those receiving the food.
“‘Cans Across America’ is a great way to focus the desire a lot of students have to help others in our community,” Hugg said.
“It pulled us all together for a great cause,” Cullen said. “Giving back to the community is something very important to (the College) and food drives like ‘Cans Across America’ teach us what a huge impact our individual efforts can make.”