NMU Day of Giving brings generosity to campus food pantry

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Mary McDonough

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday finally fades into the haze of another Thanksgiving season, there is one day in particular that has nothing to do with free shipping or early holiday shopping. This Tuesday marked what is nationally known as Giving Tuesday, and the NMU Foundation kicked off the occasion with the second annual Day of Giving.

Partnered with the NMU Food Pantry, the NMU Foundation sorted through paper bags of non-perishable items that go straight to the shelves of the Food Pantry for NMU students. However, the Day of Giving didn’t always have the food drive involved among the Day of Giving; the pantry itself just happened to open on the
same day.

Foundation Assistant Director of Giving Andy Hill saw the opening of the food pantry as an opportunity to further the Day of Giving’s impact on students directly.

“We felt that by promoting the pantry it gave both students, faculty and staff and alumni a new way of supporting the university that didn’t exist before,” Hill said. “They have had over 500 visitors to the pantry since it’s been open.”

A day focused on philanthropy is something Hill believes brings so many people together for a great cause.

“Day of Giving is 100 percent for students. It creates a sense of community among all Wildcats,” Hill said.

When the food pantry first opened two years ago on Day of Giving, senior communications major Megan O’Connor remembered how the number of donations put the pantry on its feet.

“We raised over 1,000 food items,” O’Connor said. “It really jump-started the food pantry
for us.”

But O’Connor hopes that people don’t think of Day of Giving as the only time of year to give back.

“You don’t just have to give on Day of Giving,” O’Connor said. “There’s no reason anyone should be hungry on this
campus.”

Junior speech, language and hearing sciences major and volunteer coordinator for the food pantry Jessica Podlesak along with junior sports science major and social media coordinator Maddie Hagg found out Wednesday morning that this year’s Day of Giving collected 2,112 items, well exceeding their goal of 2,000.

“It’s kind of amazing that in a single day the entire campus sort of rallied,” Podlesak said.

With such a large amount of donations, Hagg sees it as a great sign for what the future of the pantry
will be.

“It’s just really great to know that students who need it are able to go,” Hagg said. “Letting them know that we’re growing makes them feel very reassured that there is a place where they can get the things that they need.”