The students of USM’s theatre workshop, a required course in the theater major, are holding their annual food drive. From now until Feb. 28 donations are being accepted in the blue bin in the lobby of Russell Hall on the Gorham campus. All donations are given to the Preble Street Resource Center’s food pantry and soup kitchen in Portland.
“Our aim in holding the food drive is to make students aware of the needs of the greater community and provide them with an opportunity to help others,” said theater professor Meghan Brodie. “My students want to make a difference in their community, and I am so happy to help them coordinate their efforts.”
Brodie, along with theater professor Shannon Zura, has been encouraging students in all her classes to donate and has been for several years now. Some students in her class also helped distribute flyers around campus to help promote the cause.
The Preble Street Resource Center is an organization that helps the citizens of Portland who are in need. They provide a number of programs and services to help people including, housing services, soup kitchens, the Maine Hunger Initiative, Home for Good and the Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter. These programs benefit Portland citizens from simple things like feeding a hungry mother to more elaborate aid like helping a family establish a home or helping a teen resume his education.
Food items that are encouraged to be donated are: coffee, cooking oil, rice, pasta, tea, cereal, juice, salad dressing, beans, soup, tuna, canned tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. Preble Street also accepts personal hygiene products.
“At the end of the food drive, Shannon and I try to identify the items Preble Street needs that we have not collected and we then buy several bags of these items before we deliver everything to Preble Street,” said Brodie.
Brodie and Zura usually donate several bags of dog and cat food.
“Some people who are homeless or are struggling to buy food will feed their pet companions before they will feed themselves and we want to make sure that both can eat. We know what the companionship of our pets means to us and we don’t want people or their loved pet companions to be hungry,” said Brodie.
Brodie and her students have already collected several bags of food and they aim to collect many more before the drive ends on Feb. 28.