Posted November 20, 2012

Fighting holiday hunger is mission of Temple community service effort

Monica Hankins-Padilla stood over a lunchroom table in the Newman Center packing food into large cardboard boxes, using extra care to place soft items on the top so that delicate desserts and breads would not be ruined before reaching their destination.

“We have more than enough fruit, but we need more canned goods,” said Hankins-Padilla as she surveyed the large packages to make sure that each box was filled with enough food to make a holiday meal.

Hankins-Padilla and more than a dozen volunteers stayed busy through the late afternoon Monday, packing boxes with food for the holiday to be donated to families in need throughout the community.

  • Temple students pack holiday meals to be delivered to local families in need. (Eryn Jelesiewicz)
  • Temple students pack holiday meals to be delivered to local families in need. (Christopher Williams)
  • Temple students pack holiday meals to be delivered to local families in need. (Eryn Jelesiewicz)

“Volunteering really reminds you of what you’re thankful for,” said Hankins-Padilla, external coordinator for Campus Safety Services, while packing the last large donation box with a sweet potato pie.

Hunger is a silent but common problem in the Greater Philadelphia region. According to census data, more than 600,000 people live in poverty, putting them at risk for hunger. In an effort to make the holiday season a bit easier, Campus Safety Services and Community Relations teamed up to donate more than 70 boxes filled with fruits, canned goods, dessert and a turkey to faith-based institutions, non-profit organizations and local families.

After each box was packed, Capt. Eileen Bradley, project coordinator for Campus Safety, and Andrea Swan, director of Community and Neighborhood Relations, loaded their vehicles to make personal deliveries. Gaudenzia House, a substance abuse facility located in north Philadelphia that serves more than 17,000 residential and outpatient clients annually, was one of the stops along their route.

“I’m always proud to see the campus come together to help our neighbors and community members,” said Bradley.

In addition to Gaurdenzia, Bradley and Swan delivered boxes to the Norris Homes Tenants Association, HERO Community Center, Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church and St. Malachy’s Church.

Several students also got involved in the donation efforts this year. Temple Student Government, the Temple University Community Service Association (TUCSA), the Student National Medical Association and the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) assisted in the collection and packaging of food.

In addition to stuffing baskets, TUCSA and NCNW held a canned food drive to replenish the Bright Hope Baptist Church community kitchen.

“Bright Hope’s community kitchen has been receiving more requests for food assistance than it could handle,” said Swan. “When students found out that Bright Hope’s pantry needed to be replenished, they jumped right on it and answered the call. The donation will help support them through the holiday and the rest of the year.”