Gabe Garcia

When it comes to a topic like hunger, it’s difficult for some undergraduates to realize it’s not just a problem in places like Nigeria or Somalia. For the Connect to Complete Peer Advocate Program at Lorain County Community College, it’s an issue they hope to shed some light on with the Spring Food Drive and Rally.

The Food Drive is being held from April 27 through May 7. Students are invited to donate non- perishable food items in boxes across campus, such as the one near the Student Life Desk in the campus’ College Center or Career Services on the first floor of the Bass Library / Community Resource building. Last fall, the peer advocates were able to collect over 500 pounds of food. Though there is no goal set for this year, they hope to break that number.

“Hunger is a real problem in the community, even here on campus,” said Alissa Bambarger, peer advocate coordinator. “As a community college we have power to inspire, to give back and volunteer in any way that we can. The idea for the food drive came to us last year when we heard the New Life Community Action’s food supply had dwindled and we wanted to help them out.”

New Life Community Action is a non-profit food pantry located in downtown Lorain that provides food and clothes to people with a low-income background. All donations from the food drive and following rally will go to the organization as well as Campus Hunger Relief Efforts.

The Food Rally will take place on May 7 in the College Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students must bring a canned good or non-perishable food item in order to participate.

“We’ve had so many of our peer advocates getting involved and volunteering in this project,” said Bambarger. “One in particular is Joslyn Francis, who’s basically become the life of this entire operation. Her mother-in-law runs the New Life Community Action Program, so naturally this hit home for her.”

Joslyn Francis is a mother of two and current LCCC student majoring in culinary arts. Along with Francis and Bambarger working on the project are student peer advocates Stefan Jarema, Nautica Jones, Brandon Pullen, Mary Bernard, Pam Arabian, Alyssa McLaughlin and Co-coordinator Deana Shook.

The rally will offer a variety of activities, including line dancing,  a ‘canstruction’ contest, line dancing, Couponing 101 and a Taste Off with food samples from common pantries as well as 89.1 radio providing music for the event.

Prizes include tickets to the Cleveland Orchestra, YMCA family passes, Segway tours of Cleveland, Crushers tickets and others from Commodore Books & More, the campus bookstore.

“We really just hope to get as much food as possible,” Bambarger said. “If this one goes well we hope to have another one in the fall. With food and prizes, it’s sure to be fun.”