Volunteers form ‘FIU’ display out of cans of food

Written by Yoevelyn Rodriguez\Staff Writer

“These cans were donated by some student organizations,” said Josh Farmer, an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Center for Leadership and Service located at the Biscayne Bay Campus, as he started to arrange the cans in the shape of the letter “F” on top of a row of neatly organized sheets of over-sized yellow paper on the floor.

On Friday, Nov. 20, Farmer, along two more volunteers – Tanisha Noel, a junior majoring in psychology and William Sturrup, a junior majoring in marine biology, built a display of the University’s initials, titled Canstruction, out of cans of food as a “thank you” gesture to those who donated food to the Food Pantry during the week.

The student organization that donated the most was the Lambda Chi Alpha, with a donation of 1000 cans of food.

“I feel this is a positive thing,” said Noel. “People could get inspired and donate.”

The display was hosted at the Transgender Day of Remembrance, happening simultaneously, but it was the initiative of the Health Promotion Services office.

Ludovica Virgile, office specialist at the Health Promotion Services, approached the Center for Leadership and Services days prior to the event with a request for help with collecting non-perishables for the Food Pantry at BBC.

“It is the National Hunger and Homelessness Week,” said Virgile. “We thought this was a great opportunity to raise awareness about food insecurity among college students.”

Officially, the volunteers started to work on the display at noon.

And after arranging and rearranging multiple boxes of canned tuna, sweet peas, mixed vegetables and Vienna sausages, the team finished the display around 1:30 pm.

In addition to the display, the Center for Leadership and Service also had a table where Ryan Keesee, a coordinator at the Center, educated people about food insecurity among University students.

On his table, Keesee was also selling mugs that had been designed by FIU students and plastic forks that represented the number of University students dealing with food disparity.

The proceeds from the mugs the forks sale were to be donated to the Food Pantry at BBC.

“Each folk represents 100 students,” said Keesee. “There are 288 forks for a total of 28,800 students.”

There are 28,800 FIU students dealing with food insecurity at any given moment, according to Keesee.

The office of Health Promotion Services collects these data from financial aids applications.

“The pantry served 35 students this semester,” said Virgile. “That’s equal to 320 pounds of food given out.”

Farmer said that students who reach out to the food pantry for assistance receive a ratio of 10 pounds of food that’s supposed to last them for a whole week.

Students must cook the food they receive because the pantry doesn’t serve warm meals.

Because the display was hosted by the Transgender Day of Remembrance, attendees also had access to representatives from different organizations that help educate the general public on transgender issues, and who also offer services to the transgender community.

The Food Pantry is located at the Wolfe University Center 307 and it accepts donations throughout the semester.

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