Students helping hungry students; Giving Tuesday feeds hundreds

The RISE food distribution near the College Store operates at full tilt Nov. 29. Some of the nonperishable food items handed out came from Phi Theta Kappa's food drive. Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson |

Maxfield Morris


Tables overflowing with donated nonperishable food Nov. 28 ran the length of the Student Center. Volunteers and student employees were busy organizing food by type — pastas, soups, beans — as holiday music played in the background, setting the tone for Phi Theta Kappa’s Giving Tuesday food drive.

The following day, Nov. 29, the food was given to students at the weekly RISE distribution. According to Nyla Vaivai, a student personnel assistant for RISE, all of the Phi Theta Kappa goods were distributed to City College students. It was the first time since the start of the RISE distribution that food from a campus drive was given back to students, and it served a much needed community.

“Six hundred and fifteen students are signed up this semester,” Vaivai said of the number registered to receive food through RISE. “That triples, because one person can feed between two and 10 people when they take food.”

Because it was the end of the month, it was a busy day for food distribution. A diverse City College crowd received the donated goods.

“We do staff, faculty, students,” Vaivia said. “Hunger comes in all colors.”

The drive generated more than 2,000 pounds of food collected on and off campus in collaboration with the SCC Foundation and RISE. Interim Director of College Advancement Dan McMarty praised Phi Theta Kappa’s efforts, along with the donations given by the City College and Land Park communities.

“Land Park donated at the Sandwich Spot,” McCarty said of contributions given by people in the neighborhood that surrounds the college. “I bet you we picked up a dozen bags over there.”

Husham Haroun, president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, reached out to McCarty for potential projects, and they landed on a food drive.

“I know for a fact there are students who go hungry,” Haroun said. “Some people just don’t have the money for it all.”

Former student Maszaba Carter was one of the volunteers sorting the food, and his motivations stemmed from a sense of responsibility.

“I don’t mind helping out and making sure people have what they need,” Carter said. “I do believe a lot in altruism and giving back to the community.”

Applied apparel student Genoria Lundy was also there to give back.

“Whatever needs to be done,” Lundy said, “I’m here to help, via service.”

According to Haroun, the ultimate goal of the drive was to raise awareness about students going hungry. He doesn’t believe there’s a simple solution to the dilemma, but he thinks that action has to be taken.

“The only thing you can do is bring it to light,” Haroun said. “My goal for this event is that it will be the first of many.”