OPIRG Organizes Hunger Cleanup in Oberlin

Elizabeth Kuhr, Staff Writer

As a part of a larger U.S. Public Interest Research Group movement, the OhioPIRG Homelessness and Hunger Campaign at Oberlin College has mobilized a local Hunger Clean-up. The six students are currently working to provide healthier and larger quantities of food at local pantries.

One of the co-organizers, College first-year Alex Berger joined the campaign after noticing the overwhelming homeless population in Denver, Colorado, during this past winter term.

“I was walking around downtown and noticed all the homeless people,” said Berger, “I realized I needed to do something about it.”

She turned to the Oberlin Hunger and Homelessness Campaign, whose self-proclaimed mission is “to help reduce hunger and homelessness in the Oberlin community.” The group works directly with local organizations to better improve life for townspeople.

The Hunger Cleanup mission efforts support Oberlin Community Services. OCS manages several food pantries for those who cannot afford groceries. As a part of the mission, members of Oberlin OPIRG spend time at the pantries.

“One of the first things I did with the Homelessness and Hunger Campaign was go volunteer in a food pantry,” said Berger.

While working, Berger and the other organizers noticed the pantries did not have fresh or healthy food. Inspired to better conditions, the students orchestrated a fundraiser.

“We’re working to raise money for a produce cooler for the OCS pantries so there will be more fresh food available to people who need it,” said Berger.

As well as for OCS, the students are also raising money to purchase a freezer for the local Boys and Girls Club. Shooting for each team or individual to raise around 50 dollars, the Homelessness and Hunger Campaign is reaching out to friends, family, and Oberlin students.

“Even if you only have ten dollars, its better than nothing,” said Berger.

The national U.S. PIRG board keeps track of all the local collegiate PIRG fundraising efforts. When campaign ends, the board sends all the money back to the various college groups in an oversized check, which will then be, in Oberlin’s case, given to OCS.

On top of fundraising, the students put together Food Drive Fridays. They have asked Obies to put donated canned foods in boxes in Wilder, Dascomb, Afrikan Heritage House, the Science Center, Mudd Library, Kahn Hall, and Phillips Gym. The food will go to OCS’s centers.

During the Hunger Cleanup, the Oberlin organizers continue to volunteer at OCS food pantries, encouraging other students to join when possible.

“We are trying to raise awareness about it,” said Berger, “Anyone can go work at the pantry.”

When the campaign closes on April 13th, the students will commence in a day of service.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of community gardening as a celebratory end,” said Berger.