St. Anselm volunteers find time to give back
GOFFSTOWN - There were more than 50 couches, two dozen TVs and a hundred bags of food, but it wasn't move-in day at St. Anselm College, or even a giant party.
Volunteers from the college took these and hundreds of other items to the needy to finish out the school year and help the local community. The donations will benefit churches, thrift shops and individual families in need, said student Christina Cavanaro.
"We reach out to the community for families in need," she said. "Then we collect the items and go house to house to bring the items to them."
The annual furniture, clothing and food drive began as a food drive in 2008 and has grown into a student-led movement that involves much of the St. Anselm campus, with many students opting to donate household items in good condition and non-perishable food at the end of the school year instead of moving them back home.
The Sullivan Arena was jam-packed on a recent Thursday night, with everything from large furniture items to clothing, cleaning supplies, kitchenware, rugs, lamps and small appliances.
Items were loaded into rented U-Hauls and delivered to their recipients in an exercise that means much to many of the students involved.
"When you go to Manchester and see how much people need things, and that we can do something about it, it makes me want to help," said Sophie Fabrizio. Seeing how thankful families are for the program makes it worthwhile, she added. "Little moments like that are really awesome," she said.
Cavanaro said volunteers do everything from locating the families to securing the donations to making the deliveries. The project incorporates every aspect of serving a family in need.
"We're able to be involved in the whole process of giving," she said. "It's the most well-rounded type of service I've ever been involved in."
Much of the legwork for the project occurred during finals, but students found the time to get involved.
"Running the program during finals might seem like a challenge, but everyone involved in the program understands how important it is," said student Matthew Pendergast. "There really is no better way to end the school year. It embodies the Saint Anselm values of hospitality and service which have defined my life at school."