One in nine Marylanders are battling the fight of food insecurity, according to statistics gathered from The Maryland Food Bank. In a study done by Salisbury University's food pantry, Food For The Flock, a number of SU students have also indicated a battle with food insecurity.
SU’s Student Government Association has made a movement to raise awareness and non-perishable items for those in need both at SU and in the community.
Each year, the SGA holds the Fill the Square event in which the organization asks students and staff to collect and donate as many cans as they can in an effort to literally fill a square room with food.
SU sophomore and SGA’s Chief of Staff Marissa Izykowicz was in charge of organizing Fill the Square this year.
This year, SGA chose to allot its donations to either HALO, a local homeless shelter and soup kitchen, and SU’s food pantry, Food For The Flock.
Izykowicz shared that SGA plans to choose different charities and nonprofits each year in an effort to help more than just one organization.
“I don’t know how many nonprofits serving homeless communities there are in Salisbury, but I think it would be really good to rotate every year, so we build relationships with all of the different organizations,” Izykowicz said.
This year, HALO shared a list of the foods that the kitchen staff most urgently needed. The list consisted of butter, milk, instant mashed potatoes, sugar, breakfast meat and dish detergent.
Along with the urgent list and nonperishable items, students and staff were encouraged to donate winter jackets and coats. Izykowicz emphasized that this demand was met and exceeded expectations given the number of coats the SGA received.
“This year, we actually got a lot of coat donations, which was really awesome, because in past years, it was usually like a couple here or there,” Izykowicz said. “But this year, we’ve gotten a ton, which I think is great because it will be super helpful to people who need them.”
In a record number of collections, the SGA counted a total of 1832 nonperishable goods and 35 coats.
Izykowicz highlighted that the annual event is one she finds to be extremely important to the well-being of our community.
“I mean we live in the community, and unfortunately, there is a significant amount of homelessness in Salisbury, and I think it’s super important that students realize that,” Izykowicz said. “I think it’s important to realize that homeless people are people too and they need help, and if you are able, you should absolutely try and do it.”
SU junior and SGA Senator Julia Hangarter volunteered at Fill The Square as a donation collector.
Though she was there for her organization, Hangarter emphasized that the event was much bigger than her and SGA.
“The event is a great way to not only encourage people to help others in need, but to also raise awareness that there are these people,” Hangarter said. “There are always going to be people who are in more need than you are, and to be able to help them out in any way you can is really a good thing to do.”
By CAROLINE STREETT
Gull life editor
Featured Image by Caroline Streett Images.