May 13, 2016
Communications and Marketing
Seventy couches, 15 microwaves, clothes, tables, lamps, kitchenware, and one homemade birthday cake are just a few of the items that Saint Anselm College students have collected, and are delivering to as many as 100 families as part of this year's 10th annual Food, Clothing, and Furniture (FCF) Drive.
The student-run program collects items from students as they clean out their residence hall rooms and apartments for the summer, and redistributes gently used items in good condition to families and the homeless in Manchester, Nashua, and Concord. The drive also collects items from faculty, staff, and even local alumni.
"The amount the college community gives us is incredible," said senior and FCF leader Hannah O'Halloran. "To go from serving 60 families a few years ago to 100 shows that people are really willing to help."
O'Halloran and fellow committee leaders Sophie Fabrizio and Colin Kiley (all senior sociology and social work double majors) have been with the program since they were freshmen, and have seen it develop.
It's grown from one resourceful student in 2006 to a group of 35 Saint Anselm students volunteering. Not only have the volunteers and sheer number of goods increased, but the name FCF is catching on with the community, said Fabrizio.
Donations are usually dropped off to families identified by organizations such as the International Institute, Child and Family Services, and the Manchester School District, as most in need. This year, the organizers also found that people called the college asking about the program and requesting items.
The more donations from the college community, the more assistance the FCF team can provide. Participants note that many of their drop offs go to recently arrived refugee families with very few personal possessions.
"It's amazing, no matter how big or small the donation, the familes are so appreciative," said Kiley.
O'Halloran agreed, saying that the recipients as well as the FCF student team truly value the interaction and personal attention that comes with a delivery.
"The best part is that they offer you whatever they have in their fridge– it's a shared interaction that puts us on the same level," said O'Halloran. "Having that relationship is really fun."
From Tuesday, May 10 to Thursday, May 12, the FCF team canvassed campus, picking up items and returning to the Carr Center – their central base – where they sorted and labeled them for distribution. The group attempts to fulfill requests and meet each family's needs for specific items.
The team started deliveries on Friday, May 13. It will also hand out extra items like clothes and toys to those they meet along the way, including 20 bags of food they packaged for the homeless in delivery areas.
Since FCF is a completely student run, it's funded by generous donations and led by a dedicated student committee. The group received assistance on moving trucks from U-Haul, as well as generous financial support from Mr. Tom Bullock and various campus clubs and college offices. Several alumni participants returned throughout the week, offering encouragement and snacks.