Last semester, a Food for Fines drive collected 150 boxes of spaghetti and 104 sauce cans for a local kitchen’s holiday season.
Catholic Campus Minister LaDonna McCrary said someone from the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen asked whether her group could help gather food for grocery bags to be handed out to the Johnstown area’s needy residents.
“I said, ‘Absolutely,’ but I didn’t know if we could raise all that ourselves,” McCrary said.
Student government Student Experience Committee Chairman Devin Seiger helped open the drive to Pitt-Johnstown students.
Seiger said students who turned in cans of sauce and boxes of pasta got parking ticket fine reductions in exchange.
“We saved students $605 in parking tickets,” he said.
McCrary said multiple church groups also were gathering food for the kitchen’s event.
One stepped out, leaving the pasta need unfulfilled.
When she went to help deliver the gathered food to the kitchen, tables were piled high with collected food to give out.
“There was so much food.
“It was overwhelming to see these rows and rows and rows of tables with this food—just amazing,” McCrary said.
She said ministry members plan to help again one Sunday in March.
“The kitchen provides meals every day for the less fortunate. Other churches help on a daily basis,” she said.
“There’s not a lot of volunteers because you have to pay to volunteer there…unless you buy the food and prepare it yourself.
“They still are in great need for people to help.”
She said since meals handed out are free, but the kitchen’s cooks are paid, groups must pay about $300 to volunteer for the day to keep the kitchen afloat.
There are many different volunteering positions available, she said: from serving the cooks coffee to helping prepare and package food to be delivered.