By MADISON GRANT-NEARY
During the celebration of spirit week, Wildcats participated in giving back to their community. As part of the five-day event organized by the Campus Activities Board, (CAB), a food drive was held on Sept. 30 to celebrate “Wildcats Give Back Wednesday.” All canned donations collected by CAB will be given to Cornucopia, a food pantry run within the local community outreach organization, The Waysmeet Center.
According to Billy Boyce, a member of CAB’s homecoming committee, the goal of Wildcats Give Back Wednesday was to give back to the community. Boyce, who was also in charge of Wednesday’s event, said CAB reached out to different organizations on campus such as Greek life and residence halls to better involve members of the community. With CAB’s efforts and people’s generous donations, Cornucopia will receive three medium-sized boxes of canned goods.
Run as a subset of The Waysmeet Center, the food pantry seeks to provide food and support in a loving, non-judgmental way. According to Reverend Larry Brickner-Wood, chaplain and executive director of Waysmeet, everything is free at Cornucopia. And, unlike most New Hampshire food pantries, Cornucopia does not limit the amount of food taken by its patrons.
Though recipients are required to register with the food pantry, no income guidelines or identification are needed to collect food. Brickner-Wood stated, “our assumption is if you’re here, you need it.”
Last year between its two days of operation, Cornucopia served around 50 to 100 customers a week. According to Brickner-Wood most of those patrons represented a four-person family. The high volume of people served means Cornucopia is always in need of food.
Brickner-Wood says the pantry is sustained by donations from the New Hampshire Food Bank, an organization that takes food from local establishments that would be wasted otherwise and gives it to food pantries.
Cornucopia contains two large freezers fully stocked with meats and two smaller refrigerators full of fresh produce. Bags of organic apples and locally baked bread can be seen among the canned and boxed goods. Brickner-Wood says they want “not only food, but fresh food.”
When asked if Wildcats Giveback Wednesday was a success, Boyce said it was “very successful,” and he hopes CAB will be able to coordinate annual giving back events.
Student community involvement is something Jen Turner, last year’s coordinator of Cornucopia clearly supports.
“I think all the students at UNH should be involved in the community,” said Turner,“it’s easy to forget about those in need when we have a dining hall.”
When asked how he felt about CAB dedicating a day of spirit week to giving back to the community, Brickner-Wood was enthusiastic.
“I think it’s a great idea, even in times of celebration there are others who find it hard to celebrate,” said Brickner-Wood, “we’re really happy to be a recipient of people’s generosity and good work.”