Dietetics students plan Halloween food drive

Photo montage of a can of green beans and a plastic pumpkin of candyNIU’s Student Dietetic Association (SDA) at NIU will host a “trick or treat”-style canned food drive Wednesday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Oct. 31.

Expect to see SDA members dressed up in fun costumes walking around campus seeking can donations.

Donation stations will also be set up in Wirtz Hall, residence halls and the Holmes Student Center. All proceeds will go to the Barb Food Mart at Huntley Middle School.

The Barb Food Mart is a school-based food pantry opened to families with children enrolled in DeKalb Community Unit School District 428.

Members of the SDA are very excited about getting everyone involved and working together to collect and count cans and get them to the food bank.

“Our association always wants to get more involved with creating nutrition awareness within the community,” said Carolina Applebee, committee liaison. “Our executive board sat down together and brainstormed ideas and came up with the idea of a Halloween canned food drive.”

The event is a spin on the traditional concept of loading kids up with candy around Halloween. This year, NIU students and DeKalb residents will have the opportunity to help feed children as well with their donations.

NIU Student Dietetic Association
NIU Student Dietetic Association

According to the Map the Meal Gap 2012 hunger study, more than 4,500 children (19 percent) younger the age of 18 were “food insecure” in DeKalb County.

Food insecurity means that at some point during the year a child doesn’t know where his or her next meal will come from.

“We want everyone to have equal access to food and nutritional info,” SDA president Pierra Sobodas said.

SDA Canned Food DriveThe SDA hopes that expanding their event all over campus will allow more people to be able to donate.

“We’ve done food drives before, but never like this,” Sobodas said. “In the past we’ve usually only done them in Wirtz Hall but never really expanded outside our niche.”

The SDA is a non-profit organization primarily run by nutrition students; any student interested in nutrition awareness is free to join, however. This is the first year the association has implemented a student-run committee, and the amount of active members has almost tripled from previous years.

“The organization has really grown to a large group of dedicated members,” Applebee said. “The committee members are very involved and they provide great solid ideas for planning new events, help create fliers and work on other promotional materials.”

The SDA not only helps raise community awareness about its mission but also educates student members about the same issues to better prepare them for the events.

“Getting involved with the SDA has been very rewarding, and I feel a sense of accomplishment, especially by being on the board and running a small group,” said vice president Taylor Kortel, who organizes bake sales and catering events and helps plan meeting agendas.

The SDA also raises money for Hope Haven and CROP hunger walks, and co-hosts the Empty Bowls each spring with Bread for the World. The association recently became involved with DeKalb County Community Gardens and the College Parents Group at NIU.

For more information, email niusda68@gmail.com.

by Chonce Maddox

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