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Canned SPAM, missing milk and PIKE

December 13, 2011

So back in September, I received an email from a community member and his wife asking about getting students involved with a couple of projects. We met at their beautiful house for lunch and they told me about a couple of volunteer projects that they were involved in, in our community.

One of these projects involves the homeless population of students at Margaret Brent Elementary school. Apparently, 10% of the students at Margaret Brent don’t go “home” after school. They go to a relative’s house, they go to a car, they go to a shelter, etc, but they don’t have a home to go to. This couple, along with the “Peace with Justice” group at St. John’s United Methodist Church have been providing weekend backpacks filled with enough nutritionally balanced food to feed three people for two days. Since there is no assurance that these students would have access to electricity or refrigeration, the food also had to be shelf stable and pretty much non perishable. After lunch, I was asked if I knew any student groups that might be interested in helping to make some of these bags. I put out a plea on this blog and within an hour, I heard from the president of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE).

After a meeting with PKA and members of the “Peace with Justice” group to get a feel for what was involved, we put together a budget. $500 from the philanthropy budget of PKA, $250 from the brothers of Alpha Delta Phi (PIKE and WaWa doing something together???) and another $250 from Rob Turning’s budget was enough to make a fair amount of bags. I dragged a couple of the PKA boys shopping with me and at first, everything went great. In fact, we got the majority of the items required for each bag on the first day of shopping. The only thing holding us back was the shelf stable milk. A LOT of shelf stable milk. I put in an order for 216 individual cartons of this milk at the Arbutus Walmart two weeks before Thanksgiving. It arrived two days later… never to be seen again. It is there, somewhere, in the warehouse. Three different managers have gone back there looking for it. Behind schedule, I eventually purchased as much milk as I could from 5 different stores and placed an order with Fresh and Green for the remaining batch. In the course of two days, various brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha gathered in the conference room at the Dean of Students office and assembled the bags.

Day one

Day two


On Friday, December 9th, we had the pleasure of delivering 36 brand new bags to our neighbor’s house. The guys were invited in to this warmly decorated rowhome and we took the opportunity to pose in front of the Christmas tree. Sadly, my iPhone didn’t handle the lighting situation too well, but you get the picture.

Dropping off the completed bags.

So, a big thank you to the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha for their participation in this project. We’ll be checking our budget and looking to see how many more bags we can put together with the money we have left over. This time, I know exactly where to get the milk from.

There are MANY more homeless students than there are currently enough bags for. If you are interested in making more bags, please contact me and I’ll help you with the project. Don’t want to make food bags? Our neighbors are also looking for a student group interested in holding a coat drive. Again, contact me if you are interested.

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