Students inspired to give in the spirit of helping "working poor
Student-led “Change for Change” project is collecting food for holiday season distribution.
The spirit of the holiday season found its way into the hearts of Metropolitan State College of Denver students well before the season began, and has resulted in a collaborative effort among campus programs and a student organization to help those less fortunate.
Change for Change, a spare change and food drive for the working poor and hungry, is being implemented by the Department of Social Work, Student Association of Social Workers (SASW), Campus Recreation, and the Center for Urban Connections (CUC). The beneficiary will be the Metro State Food Bank, which has nearly tripled its number of student visits since it opened in fall 2008 from 443 to 1324.
Alicia Micheal, a 20-year-old social work major, began planning the effort in September because she wanted to help people, in particular the working poor. “I really just wanted to help people during holidays. There is lots of help for the homeless but not for working poor or for students,” said Micheal, chair of the SASW social justice committee.
With SASW president Aaron Smith, she began planning the event. “He helped me to plan, advertise, and be creative with the posters. He also went with me to contact different departments.”
Food and spare changes is being collected for the Change for Change project through Dec. 3.
One of those visits was to Center for Urban Connections, which works to promote collaborative relationships between Metro State and the community. Co-Director Matthew D'Agostino, connected Micheal and Smith with another student, who was interested in doing something similar.
Alli Tellez, 24, a speech, languages and hearing sciences major and employee in Campus Recreation, says she was inspired by her own volunteer work with the Project Homeless Connect event, co-hosted by the CUC on Oct. 29, and wanted to do more to help. Upon learning from CUC about the SASW effort, she said “at Campus Recreation we’re all about teamwork, so we thought why not team up and get double, triple the amount of food.”
Campus Recreation added special incentives to those dropping off items at their location, including comedy works tickets, admittance to Campus Recreation and a lock or towel for the day.
Tellez, a second-year participant with the College’s Urban Leadership Program is using the Social Work Food Drive/Change for Change Project as her service learning component.
D’Agostino said the collaboration for the Change for Change project is a text book example of how the CUC facilitates connections between groups of students on campus, and helps to get people involved in regards to community service needs.
“I would encourage anyone with a good idea of how to help people to contact the office,” he said.
Micheal said her group has yet to tally up all the food they’ve collected and money raised, but she said, “I love what I’ve done so far, even being given the opportunity to help people.”
Micheal, who works as a waitress in Westminster, said she has informed her customers about what she's doing and they have brought in food for her to add to the collection. They have also extended the spare change portion of the drive to a local high school and are exploring a second organization to benefit from the drive, according to Micheal.
Smith, 27, also a social work major, added that as they select the second organization to benefit from the drive, they are soliciting ideas for organizations that deliver prepared or boxed meals.
Donations of items including, canned foods, rice, fruit cups, box dinner/lunches, crackers and any other non-perishable goods are being accepted through Dec. 3 at the following Auraria Campus locations:
Social Work Department in Central 207
Center for Urban Connections in Tivoli 243
PE Building right in the Fitness Center (food drive only)
For more information, contact Alicia Micheal at firstname.lastname@example.org.