The Volunteer Center at NMU, in partnership with TV-6, will be holding a month-long Can-a-thon, collecting food to help out those less fortunate.
The event runs from Nov. 7 until Dec. 1, and collection boxes have been placed around campus for students to leave their donations.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible by having boxes in all major locations,” said Volunteer Center assistant coordinator Lydia Stuef.
The boxes will be collected periodically in order to prevent overflowing and will be in accessible locations such as the academic buildings and residence hall lobbies.
At the end of the collection period, the donations will be sent to the TV-6 station in Negaunee, where they will be distributed to food banks in the area. Hannah Kratz, Volunteer Center coordinator, and assistant coordinators Stuef and Nik Krawczyk, are running the event on campus.
“We’re reaching out to everyone on campus so that we can help out and give back to the community,” Stuef said.
Another way that NMU is reaching out is by involving athletics. Boxes are located in the locker rooms for all sports. Olivia Juntila, representative for NMU cross country, is the coordinator for the NMU athletics’ portion of the Can-a-thon.
There will also be a collection at the Berry Events Center during the hockey games against Michigan State University, so that both students and other members of the community can donate.
“The hockey game is a big way that we receive our donations. It’s a great way to reach out and give back to the community,” Juntila said. “Athletic students have very busy schedules with very little time on their hands, so by having collection boxes in the locker rooms, we can make it easier for them to participate.”
NMU has been doing this event for years. Some other partners are Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul Society in Marquette County.
“We sometimes take for granted all that we have, knowing that with our meal plans we can have three meals a day,” Kratz said. A lot of needy people in the area appreciate the donations.”
“Poverty is harder to see in the U.P., because unlike a crowded city, they are in areas that are farther out and away from populated areas.”
This event is organized across the whole U.P. However, the cans collected stay in the local area in which they were collected. Most cans collected in Marquette will end up going to the Salvation Army food pantry and will be distributed to those in need from there.
Dave Bonsall, director of the Center for Student Enrichment, said it’s a great way to help the community.
“NMU is part of the community and as responsible citizens we should help out our community,” Bonsall said. “With 10,000 students, it should be easy to get a good amount of food for those in our community that need it most. It’s an easy way to feel good with minimal effort to help out neighbors for the holidays.”
Awareness is raised by posters, student announcement emails and word of mouth. Last year, 2,500 pounds of food items were collected and the Volunteer Center’s goal is to collect even more than that this year.
“It’s always important to help out those in need,” Stuef said. “As we think about all that we are thankful for on Thanksgiving, we should also realize that there are just as many others less fortunate than us.
“It’s great to just take a little time and effort, knowing that we can make a difference and help out those less fortunate.”
For more details, email the Volunteer Center at [email protected]