Students give back during annual food drive
Lafayette students Amee Biancofiori and Russ Smathers helped gather more than a ton of donations for the annual CoT Food Drive.
College of Technology students in West Lafayette and at the Lafayette location collected 2,481 pounds of food and personal care items for the college's second annual food drive, surpassing the goal of 1,000 pounds.
Within a three-week period, students donated canned goods, boxed dinners, peanut butter, drink mixes, personal care products and more in an effort to help those in need in the Greater Lafayette community.
All contributions from the drive, which was organized by the College of Technology Student Ambassadors in partnership with Food Finders Food Bank of Lafayette, will go directly to the food banks of Greater Lafayette and Northwest Indiana.
"Last year was a great success with the college donating 629 pounds," said Ellen Zouras, president of the Student Ambassadors. "We really wanted to further the success of the tradition that began last year, and I think we did just that."
The students, faculty and staff at College of Technology at Lafayette collected 2,035 pounds of food and personal care items – more than 80 percent of the total – themselves. Amee Biancofiori, president of the Lafayette Ambassadors, and Russ Smathers, vice president, led the effort.
“It was important to get the Lafayette students and staff involved in the food drive due to the fact that Food Finders is in dire need of donations this time of year and the community is in need of helping hands,” said Biancofiori, who works full time as a production paint repair associate at Subaru of Indiana Automotive while pursuing her degree. “I also felt it was a fantastic opportunity to come together, as a group of students and staff, to portray leadership abilities. I was confident that our location would step up to the challenge and make a multitude of families smile this holiday season. Also, it was a fantastic opportunity to encourage and participate in volunteerism.”
As a Lafayette resident, Biancofiori knows firsthand the needs of the community, and she also has a heart for service and a passion for giving back. Those traits – and a bit of a competitive spirit – made her the ideal person to organize the drive.
“Our community need is one that many people are not aware of. There are numerous families that have to end their day without a meal due to lack of funding and food shortages. It is estimated that there are 50 million food-deficient people in America and 1-in-4 of those people are children,” she said. “The need of our local community is not publicized as much as it should be, and many community members are not aware that the food banks are continually running out of food to aid the families in need.”
The organizational leadership and supervision major also sees service as a practical way to develop leadership skills and to exercise civic responsibility.
“To be involved in your local community is part of being a proficient leader; it is beneficial to familiarize yourself with the people that govern your community,” she said. “You should be educated on local policies and practices. You, as an individual, have a voice and a power to vote and stand behind what ideals make your community successful. Knowledge and understanding can start with making the simple effort to get involved.”