By David Musayelyan
Last week, Community Food Room volunteers raised more than $730 to buy non-perishable foods for the winter food drive.
Events coordinator Marilyn White came up with the idea for the fundraiser, Give up Your Lunch Money, after reading about a similar drive in a newsletter. The donation day was Thursday.
In four hours, the group raised more than they expected, said volunteer coordinator Vivien Cornelius. “It is the first time we did it so we did not have high expectations. I am very happy [with how] people responded,” Cornelius said.
Rebecca Rose, RyeSAC vice president education, helped with the event. She said she saw people donating $20 bills. While the fundraiser helped, the Community Food Room needs a lot more operate.
“In January we don’t have anything,” Cornelius said. The food room had to cut back on its hours this month because it could not support more visitors. “We got way too many people. In one month we had 400 people coming. It is impossible to serve all of them,” Cornelius said.
The food room implemented a membership card system last month to have more control over people who come in. “So far it has worked pretty well,” Cornelius said. Until last month, visitors- about half of whom are students-could visit the food room up to twice a week. Now they can only come once a week and are limited to 10 items.
One food room user, Jim Snow, said that once a week is not enough. “You don’t really get a lot,” he said. Ten items generally last him two or three days. Snow visits the food room about once a month. He said it has products that other food banks don’t have. “Very rarely you find milk,” he said, putting a carton of it in his backpack.
Cornelius said that once there is enough food, users will be able to pick up food twice a week. The Community Food Room is part of the Daily Bread Food Bank network, from which it receives half of its food.
Private organizations and community members donate the other half.