By Shivan Micoo
It lay there in an unlikely location: the sixth floor stairwell in Jorgenson Hall. Its contents — two cans of Campbell’s Soup to Go, a plastic jar of Kraft peanut butter, and a couple of cans of Mr. Goudas red beans — were hidden by torn and crumpled pieces of paper.
A blue sign was pasted on the top of this stray donation-box-turned-waste-bin, reading: “FEED ME, Make a non-perishable donation to the food drive until Friday, Dec. 8, 2006.”
But that deadline came and went, and donation boxes were still ever-present on Ryerson campus. Most boxes were in the lobbies and outside the doorways of faculty departments.
Due to overwhelming donations and lack of volunteers during exam time, late donations ended up lying in wait. On Jan. 5, 2007, nearly a month after the declared deadline for donations, Liz Diaz, a coordinator for the Community Food Room said she was going to pick up the remaining boxes around campus. “We’re doing the best we can given the amount of work that we’re faced with,” said Diaz.
Diaz is one of two coordinators who oversee the operations of the Community Food Room — a service group supported by the Ryerson’s Students’ Union and the Daily Bread Food Bank — that aims to provide food to those in need.
“We collected all full boxes before our closing date,” said Diaz. “This year we received such positive feedback regarding our winter drive that we opted to leave some boxes out for faculty and administration to donate over the student holiday.”
Diaz said that most of their donations come from staff and faculty, and that waiting until the new year to collect donations has “garnered much needed resources for the winter semester.”
According to Diaz, the success of the winter food drive has left them short on space to store food, and that over 1,500 non-perishable food items, in addition to the 19 boxes of food they received from Ryerson President Sheldon Levy’s holiday party, have been collected.
The food-filled donation boxes lying around campus did not shock many people, although the deadline for donations has long-since passed. “I’m not surprised,” said Julia Ounphongxay, a Community Food Room volunteer.
“They only have two coordinators and a few volunteers.” Ounphongxay said that despite being under-staffed, the Community Food Room is still able to help feed many people.
She said that the delay in food collection does not make her think twice about volunteering in the future. Christopher Gore, a professor of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson, said the delay is a “definite concern,” and that a program “should be fixed” if it deviates from its plan. “It’s sad if a program with good intentions doesn’t execute,” said Gore.
Lydia Ghent, a receptionist in the Human Resources department at Ryerson University said she thought that the food would be picked up on Dec. 8 so those in need would have something to eat for the holidays.
“They ask you to make a donation and then they don’t pick it up,” said Ghent. “That doesn’t sound good to me.” Food collected from these drives is available to students, faculty and community members throughout the year, except for during the food room’s closure which started on Dec. 19, 2006. The Community Food Room officially re-opens today.