With enough people making small contributions, big things can happen.
This was the reverberant message delivered by Christina King, president of JCC's Activism Club, as she totaled up the donations for the club's most recent food and clothing drive.
For the month of November, the club set out boxes around JCC's campus where students and community members could donate nonperishable foods and clothing for the less fortunate. Though the club expected the community would respond well, it never anticipated exactly how generous the community would be.
Throughout the month of November the JCC Activism Club was able to help raise 200 pounds of food, 40 garbage bags of clothing, and 2,000 pairs of gloves and mittens.
"We kept the drive open through November, and in that month, we raised 200 pounds of food, 40 garbage bags of clothing, and 2,000 pairs of gloves and mittens," said King. "The motivation behind the clothing drive was to meet the needs of the community. In 2011, St. Susan's served over 100,000 meals, and they're on pace to break that number this year. We just want to help those in need."
According to King, the proceeds from the drive were distributed to four local organizations: the Joint Neighborhood Project, the Community Helping Hands, the Kind Thrifter, and the St. Susan Center.
"There is such a great need," said King. "These organizations are nonprofit, and they depend on donations, whether it be money or food and clothing."
According to King, members of the Activism Club plugged the drive before and after classes, but beyond that, never truly did any advertising of the drive. So, when the community responded as well as it did, King was humbled.
"We had a lot of donations from our friends and people in personal circles," said King. "Our friends and family know how much helping the community means to us, and they definitely showed their support through the generous donations they made. A lot of people in the community saw information about the drive in the newspaper, and I think that helped too. I don't think enough can be said about community members that take an active role in helping others. (Those that help) are wonderful people, and I hope they never lose the ambition to help."
As the food and clothing drive progressed, the Activism Club realized that the boxes which were set out on campus weren't going to be big enough to hold all the donations people were making. As a result, the Activism Club rented a storage space at the Riverwalk Self Storage to keep the excess donations. In doing so, the Activism Club was rewarded with its largest donation throughout the whole drive.
"After a week and a half, we realized we were going to need to rent a storage locker," said King. "Jim Sirianno, who runs the Riverwalk Self Storage, had approximately 2,000 gloves, mittens, scarves and hats, and he donated them all to us. That was something we weren't expecting, but it ended up being the bulk of our donations. (Sirianno) was extraordinarily kind to make such a large donation."
As the president of JCC's Activism Club, King would like to extend her thanks and gratitude toward all those who helped to make the food and clothing drive a success.
"Without everyone's help - donating items and bringing everything into JCC - all these organizations would not have received what they did," said King. "I'm so very grateful and so very proud of this community. I think this drive could have easily failed - people could have just not cared or thrown away their unwanted clothing, but instead they chose to bring it to the college. I'm just so appreciative of everyone who did their part."
Moving forward, the JCC Activism Club will continue to sponsor drives which bring resources and supplies to those who are in need in the community. According to King, any JCC student is welcome to join the club, and may do so by either speaking with King, Christina Cardinale, who is vice president of the club, or Shannon Bessette, club adviser.