No matter how many food drives she organizes, Rochelle Davis said she is still “always scared that people won’t give.”
Davis, the executive assistant to Dean David Boardman in the School of Media and Communication, also serves as chair of the SMC Cares Committee. The committee, made up of a dozen SMC faculty members, aims to foster a sense of community within the SMC faculty and also give support to local neighborhoods.
Davis said she’s currently raising donations for the organization’s second annual food drive. The SMC Cares Committee will collect nonperishables until Wednesday using a donation box in Annenberg Hall.
This year’s donations will go to the Church of the Advocate on 18th and Diamond streets, which will then be distributed to those in need.
“I think it’s important for Temple to give back to the community as a former resident because a lot of people in the community have looked at the placement of Temple as kind of intrusive,” Davis said.
“If there’s a need and people express those needs, then we should step up,” said Bill Cook, an advertising professor and a member of the SMC Cares Committee.
Cook said the food drive is an opportunity to “get more connected to the community” and continue the volunteer work he did as an advertising and German major at Temple before he graduated in 2010. As the university expands and changes, Cook said it’s even more important that Temple does its part.
“We’re seen as an island here in North Philadelphia, and when I was a student here, we had poor university-community relations,” he said. “They were very strained.”
“If we’re going to be an important part of this community from an employment aspect, we also need to help this community fix some of its problems, and one of those problems is chronic hunger,” Cook added.
The committee is one of several groups at Temple organizing food drives to give back to Philadelphia this holiday season.
Michael Molz, a senior criminal justice major, said he organized a food drive with Temple’s chapter of Army ROTC to reduce hunger this Thanksgiving. The food drive, which Molz said is an annual event, started on Nov. 1 and will last until Nov. 29.
He said that with so many families struggling to eat this time of year, “food’s a great thing to give to them and make sure people aren’t hungry on Thanksgiving.”
Molz said throughout the month of November, the 128 cadets in Temple’s Red Diamond Battalion are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items, which will eventually be donated to a larger food drive at XFINITY Live! from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.
The food drive, “Camp Out For Hunger,” is hosted by WMMR’s “The Preston and Steve Show.” The donations will go to Philabundance, the Philadelphia region’s largest hunger relief organization.
Molz said prizes, like sweatshirts, will be awarded to ROTC members who donate the most food who are the top two donors.
Although the competition is limited to ROTC members, Molz said anyone who would like to donate can drop off nonperishable foods at the ROTC office in the basement of Ritter Hall.
Davis said programs that benefit Philadelphia are important because the university is “smack dab in the middle of a community and they kind of feel protective of what they believe is theirs.”
“If Temple is sharing what they believe is theirs, then it’s only right of Temple to kind of work with them and give back,” she added. “Just to say, ‘Hey, we’re in this together.’”
Carr Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.