At the end of each semester, students scramble to use their polar points before they expire, buying things they probably don’t need, such as extra snacks, sodas and gum at the Bowdoin Express Convenience Store.
After witnessing this annual ritual take place over the past three years, Caroline Moore ’14 decided she would try to encourage students to use some of their leftover points on behalf of the local food pantry.
First, she asked Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick what they needed, learning that they can always stock more tuna, peanut butter and vegetable soup.
Then Moore contacted Adeena Fisher, who runs the “C Store.” Fisher was supportive, although not too optimistic the drive would be a success. Two years ago when the store ran another food drive, it had collected a mere 24 cans of food, she said.
This year, though, “the drive Caroline organized was fantastic,” Fisher said, with Moore organizing a strong publicity campaign, with posters and table-top flyers in the dining halls. Fisher bought the requested items in bulk and sold them at cost, she said.
From Dec. 2-8, customers bought a total of 309 items, the equivalent of 225 pounds of food for the pantry. The total value of the donation was $558.
Moore, who leads a student group that volunteers at the local homeless shelter, said she is considering a career in hunger prevention. Growing up in Manchester, Mass., her family would regularly help her church serve weekly meals to the needy. Two summers ago, she also worked at a summer food pantry that provided lunch for kids at risk of going hungry when school was out of session.
“Seeing the need on a daily basis is a motivator,” she said.