A peanut butter and jelly sandwich and piece of fruit were amongst the few items donated to destitute children in the Berks County region, with help from KU students.
The annual Spread the Love event took place on Wednesday, Sept. 26 on the lawn of the McFarland Student Union Building (MSU). The event, which lasted from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., was lead by the Hunger and Homelessness program from the Community Outreach Center.
The concept of Spread the Love is simple, yet very effective. Students donate $1 and five minutes of their time to help make a bagged lunch consisting of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple and juice for the Second Street Learning Center in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The center is a part of the Opportunity House, which provides a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week daycare service for children from low-income families in the surrounding areas.
Spread the Love benefitted not only The Learning Center, but also local businesses. The event tried to use as many locally grown products in the lunches as possible. The bread came from the Daily Loaf, the apples from the Rodale Institute, and the jelly from the Ol’ Schoolhouse Bakery.
In return for their services, the volunteers received free buttons, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that because they took five minutes out of their busy days, a child would have a fresh meal to eat for lunch. Volunteers were also given more information about the benefits of buying local products.
Kim June, Hunger and Homelessness coordinator for the Community Outreach Center said that it “means a lot to be able to raise awareness about issues in our area.” She believes that sometimes students can “live in a bubble.” This is why she was extremely thrilled about the turnout of students that were willing and eager to “spread the love.”
The forecast called for rain on the day of the event, but the weather did not stop the volunteers from setting up and continuing the day. The event, which was scheduled to run from the morning until afternoon, ended earlier.
The lawn of the MSU was busier than usual. While students were hurrying off to class, many stopped to see what the commotion was about. The goal for the day was to make 150 sandwiches in the six-hour time frame. Walking by the lawn at 2 p.m., however, one would not know there was an event that day. According to June, the Community Outreach Center’s goal was met by 1:30 pm.
107 volunteers showed up that day to either make a sandwich or to work the event.
Overall, the event seemed to be very rewarding for all involved.
“Spread the Love” helped me connect with students on campus and share my knowledge about issues,” said June.
Volunteers and faculty got to interact with fellow classmates, help the less fortunate and, if nothing else, partake in a rewarding experience that will be appreciated by many.
For more information on the Second Street Learning Center and Opportunity House, students can visit their website at http://www.opphouse.org. Directors and committee members invited students to email the center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kristina Rocca