By Irene Rotondo
Often, students on the Springfield College campus will overlook Humanics events or not even realize when they are happening. Fill the Bus, however, is an event that should be widely known for its impact on Springfield’s surrounding community and an event in which anyone can make a difference.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, the Springfield College community will take charge in providing food for those who are homeless while continuing the school’s mission of Humanics. Last year during the Fill the Bus initiative, the College was able to conjure up 1,700 lbs of food, enough to help the 1,415 hungry neighbors that the school has located across Western Massachusetts.
The goal of this event is to fill up each of the 50 seats on the Springfield College Athletics bus with a box of donated non-perishable food items and to fill up a Springfield College Public Safety cruiser.
Michelle Lee Scecina, the Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Enhancement, is excited for the new opportunity to assist those located in the Franklin, Berkshire, Hampshire, and Hampden counties in Western Massachusetts.
“We’re collaborating with a few different departments on campus – our student-athlete leadership team which is made up of about 65 student-athletes from all different teams, and they have really kind of embraced this food drive to benefit the community,” Scecina stated.
“We are also working with campus police, with the Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement,” she added.
The front entrance to the Flynn B. Campus Union, as well as the front of the Physical Education Complex, are both available places for students, staff, faculty, and administration members to drop off food they wish to donate. There are also boxes located throughout multiple buildings on campus for collection.
After the bus and cruiser are filled, the food will be dropped off at the Springfield College food pantry on campus, German Gerena Community School in Springfield, and The Food Bank at Western Massachusetts.
Scecina said that The Food Bank completely relies on donations to serve approximately 9.6 million meals a year.
“It can help so many people across the community and all throughout Western Mass. We’re looking to help even more people than last year. We actually started this, the whole food drive, about a month ago, just kind of getting the word out,” said Scecina.
“We had a solid meeting that I just got back from where we had the director of The Food Bank, Andrew Morehouse, come to speak to us and tell us about how Fill the Bus helps the community and how it will help. It casts a really wide net, and we’re able to help a really large number of people across Western Mass with just our food drive,” Scecina added.
However, this initiative is not only faculty and administration-led. One of the student-athlete leaders directly involved in the program, Rachel Ahlmeyer, said that the event has really helped her grow as a person and believes that it has a large impact on everyone involved.
“I think, definitely, continuing to stay aware of all of the needs in the area will carry me in life,” said Ahlmeyer. “To always find a way to give back and keep others in mind… Every year I’ve been a part of the student-athlete leader program, we’ve had one form or the other of Fill the Bus.”
Fill the Bus will take place on November 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Scecina urges the student body to come help and volunteer during that time to help sort, weigh, and collect the food on the front steps of the P.E. Complex and Blake Arena.
The food needs to be loaded onto the bus at 11:30 a.m., and help will also be needed from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the actual bus to help unload and sort the food. Those interested in helping from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. need to have no other commitments during that time, as they will actually be on the bus and driving to the aforementioned locations.
For any other additional information on Fill the Bus or how to get involved, please contact Michelle Lee Scecina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos Courtesy of Springfield College