Tufts Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honors society on campus, kicked off its first-ever Thanksgiving Food Drive at the beginning of the month in support of Project Share Our United Pantry (SOUP), a food pantry affiliated with the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
The society is collecting non-perishable, undamaged cans of food, as well as monetary donations, at specific times and locations until Nov. 21, according to Hannah Clark, a member of Tau Beta Pi’s Service Committee.
Clark, a junior, said the drive has been successful in its first week. After compiling cans from the bin locations in Anderson Hall and Tisch Library, the group counted between 60 and 100 cans. Both Clark and Chair of the Service Committee Megan France, a senior, said that they had a goal of collecting 1,000 cans overall for the Thanksgiving Food Drive.
“If everyone in the School of Engineering donated a can or two, that would put us at that number,” France said. “And we are also not restricting it to the School of Engineering. We are thinking it is a high goal, but if everyone who was aware of the event contributed, it would be an achievable goal.”
Although France acknowledged some setbacks in the planning of the Thanksgiving Food Drive — such as flyers blending into their surroundings due to their black and white color and the fact that the donation bins often go unnoticed — the society members maintain hope of reaching their goal.
“[Tau Beta Pi] put larger posters to attract attention to [the bins], and I think that helped a lot,” France said. “We have also been emailing professors to let them know to pass information on to their classes … We have a Facebook event we have been encouraging everyone to share.”
Possibly the biggest problem facing the campaign is the fact that students may have trouble accessing stores with canned goods, according to France. To resolve this problem, France said the society collected monetary donations in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center yesterday and will continue to do so in Mayer Campus Center on Friday during open block.
“[Tau Beta Pi] can donate [money] directly to Project SOUP, and the benefit of that is food pantries get discounts on buying various items and they can also take stock and realize what they are really in need of,” she said.
President of Tau Beta Pi Samuel Kessel noted the benefits of the society having a Thanksgiving food drive, as compared to other events.
“We are trying to provide the most service that we can for the least amount of money,” he said. “There are other options out there like donating to the Museum of Science, but they have a million dollar endowment. So, we decided that we can create the most good by doing a food drive.”
Kessel, a senior, explained that this is Tau Beta Pi’s first time running a Thanksgiving food drive for the Somerville Homeless Coalition. Clark added that she hopes it is not the last.
The society, however, has worked with Somerville Homeless Coalition before, according to Kessel. He cited a pie selling event, sponsored by Tau Beta Pi, which raised funds for the coalition last year.
Although Tau Beta Pi members are now focused on the Thanksgiving Food Drive, they are already planning ahead, with ideas circulating around potential networking initiatives or engineering outreach projects for high schoolers, according to France.
Kessel said that Tau Beta Pi has grown stronger over the past year.
“The thing about Tau Beta Pi is that we have grown a lot,” he said. “So last year we had a grand total of two events — this semester we are having something along the lines of five … So, the food drive is a great step, and we have also done a lot of other things in terms of getting people jobs. We had the President of Kiva Systems … come and talk to students.”