First-time food drive donates first batch

Queen’s Gives Back collects non-perishable foods during Homecoming for the United Way

AMS Municipal Affairs Commission overseeing the Queen’s Gives Back food drive, which took place Sunday.
AMS Municipal Affairs Commission overseeing the Queen’s Gives Back food drive, which took place Sunday.

Despite the heavy rain, the Queen’s Gives Back initiative collected 276 cans of food on Sunday, as they took to the streets in a food drive for the United Way.

The organization collected cans of non-perishable food items to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Kingston, a United Way agency, as part of this year’s Homecoming activities.

St. Vincent de Paul Society provides emergency groceries and a lunch program for individuals and families residing in the Kingston area. Sunday’s campaign is the first of its kind to be organized alongside Homecoming.

Co-chairs Taylor Jennings and Alex Blaine organized the food drives, which take place on the Sunday mornings of the two Homecoming weekends.

The chairs also worked alongside Valencia Gaspard from the Student Experience Office and the AMS Municipal Affairs Commission to oversee the event.

“We went into it knowing it might be a little bit difficult on a Sunday morning,” Jennings, ArtSci ’15, said.

At 9:30 a.m., the group of around 15 students and five to 10 alumni volunteers gathered in the rain in front of the JDUC, after which they were assigned separate streets to canvass and gather donations.

The first weekend saw volunteers canvass houses west of Albert St., while the second weekend will focus on houses east of Albert St.

The wet weather also affected turnout, Jennings added, since less students showed up in the morning to join the event than may have joined on a nicer day.

The students and alumni were mixed into groups of four, according to Blaine, ConEd ’15.

She said the groups covered about four streets, and targeted both student and non-student houses.

Because of the rain, which slowed down the effort, the group missed some houses west of Albert St.

Despite this, Blaine said it went well overall.

Around 10 student volunteers signed up prior to the event, and five additional students showed up on Sunday morning.

Some monetary donations in loose change were provided by the community, which Jennings and Blaine said they will use to buy food items to donate.

The total will be counted after both food drives are complete.

Judy Glen, executive director at the St. Vincent de Paul Society, personally accepted the donations, which were added to the organization’s food supply.

The drive is an opportunity that gives students and alumni a chance to meet each other while giving back to the Kingston community, Blaine added.

“We had posters [set up] ... so if people wanted to learn more about the United Way they could,” Glen said.

“Two of the big things about Queen’s is the student involvement and community give-back, so we really wanted to create an event that incorporated both.”

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