By Liem Ho
Over 200 student volunteers came through NJIT’s plaza last Monday, December 7th to assemble over one thousand peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as part of a project sponsored by NJIT Residence Life and Gourmet Dining Services. The sandwiches are being donated to Willing Heart Community Care Center, Sacred Heart, and other food distribution centers in Newark.
The project was cleverly named after a play on words. M is the Roman numeral for one thousand, and the idea was to feed one underfed person a sandwich. The goal was to assemble one thousand sandwiches to feed the hungry of Newark, and student volunteers were able to exceed the set goal by assembling, bagging, and decorating, a grand total of 1,200 sandwiches, ready to feed the hungry of Newark.
Students were able to stop by the tables in the plaza in between 12 to 5 PM to help make the sandwiches. Passing students participated in the project for various reasons—some were more personal.
“I rushed out here after class to help out because growing up and living in Newark all of my life, I’ve seen the starvation firsthand, and I always try to help out whenever I can,” said junior biophysics major Deliris Diaz.
By participating in such a project, students were also rewarded with community service hours, which would count towards philanthropic and volunteering requirements for Greek life, or towards the Honors College. Ryan Rattazzi, a freshman biomedical engineering major said, “being a part of this project gave me the opportunity to give back to society, while also helping me get Honors community service hours.”
Not only is this project appropriate for giving back to the immediate community, especially during the holidays, but it also gives the students something to take away.
Students passing by through campus came together to work towards a common goal—building sandwiches together to help the less fortunate of Newark. “The idea for this event was under the premise of leaving it better than you had found it, and wanting to instill that concept into the students,” said Mouna Moussa, residence coordinator of Honors hall and lead coordinator of the project.
Quick Facts on Hunger in America (2013):
– 5.4 million seniors (over age 60), or 9% of seniors are food insecure
– 48.1 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, including more than 15 million children
– 14 percent of households (17.4 million households) are food insecure
– 6 percent of households (6.9 million households) experienced very low food security