Eastway holds canned food drive with a twist, awareness for Hunger and Homelessness Week


Kent State grad appointee Lyn Haselton works on the can sculpture being created by the College of Public Health in the Eastway Center on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.

Cameron Gorman

Kent State’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement, along with the Women’s Center, hosted a canned food drive with a twist on Thursday in the Eastway main lounge, allowing participants to team up to build the best canned-sculpture.

“Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is exactly that — a week to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness across the country,” said Cole Wojdacz, who helped organize the event and a junior public health major. “It is mostly implemented on college campuses and larger high schools,”

Kim Yodice, the administrative assistant for the Dean of College of Public Health, said the theme of the drive was fruitful harvest. Giant fall themed sculptures of pie slices, turkeys, and more filled the lounge.

Yodice’s team built a canned food-constructed harvest garden.

“We were trying to figure out a way that we could incorporate the theme and do something creative,” Yodice said. “We came up with a community garden, so we’re making this the College of Public Health community garden,”

 There were six total teams participating in the event alongside the College of Public Health, including, among others, the Provost’s Leadership Academy, who were constructing a can turkey, and the Catholic Students Association, creating a barnyard.

“(It’s) definitely (nice), being able to give back to people who need stuff, especially around this time of year,” said Wyatt Mauti, a sophomore pre-nursing major and Provost Leadership member. 

The food from the canned sculptures, including the winning sculpture, the College of Public Health’s garden, was later donated to the Women’s Center pantry on campus for students and those in need- and the need is certainly real.

In fact, according to the website of Feeding America, a hunger relief organization, one in six people in Ohio struggle with hunger.

“People can definitely be homeless or hungry even while in college,” Wojdacz said. “Most don’t think of homelessness as it applies to students, but there are many people who end up couch surfing or skipping meals because they don’t have money or a place to call home.”

Hunger and Homelessness Week has been a week-long effort to raise awareness of these issues on campus, and will culminate on Friday with a vigil at 6 p.m. on the Esplanade. 

“We were following the national awareness week campaign that happens every year,” Wojdacz said. “Since we live on a college campus and this is the community that we are a part of, it made the most sense to implement it here.”

Cameron Gorman is a diversity reporter, contact her at [email protected]