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Students donate time to provide meals for needy

While the Boston University Charles River campus might not be hosting Thanksgiving dinners and charities during 2012, students are turning to citywide volunteer efforts with help from the Community Service Center.

“I don’t know of any Thanksgiving fundraisers,” said Doris Sheynfeld, a College of Arts and Science sophomore. “I guess it’s not a good thing that we associate fundraisers with just Thanksgiving, but I think there should be more fundraisers on campus.”

Students signed up to work with the CSC’s Student Food Program and Community Servings on running Pie in the Sky, said Andrew Weaver, program manager for SFR. Pie in the Sky volunteers deliver pies around the city, raising money to provide meals to homebound and critically ill people in the Boston area.

“[Pie in the Sky] ended up being one of my favorite runs to do, just because a lot of the other places we go it’s a more indirect thing, we just go pick up food from place and then drop it off at kitchens,” Weaver, a COM junior, said. “We don’t have many opportunities where we get to serve people,”

In its 20th year, Pie in the Sky is Community Servings’ largest fundraiser for providing meals to the homebound and critically ill people in the Greater Boston area, said Jessica Welch, the development and communication manager at Community Servings.

“[With] Pie in the Sky fundraiser, we raise a half a million dollars,” Welch said.

Local restaurants and bakeries donate the pies, and volunteers then collect, deliver and sell these pies at places throughout the Greater Boston area, Welch said. Each pie sold at $25 is able to provide a week worth of food to Community Servings’ clients.

“Student Food Rescue is going over there on Wednesday and helping them organize and helping them drop off pies to retail locations that might have run out of them,” Weaver said. “We are also delivering thank you pies to the big donors that helped out a lot.”

Weaver said the goal of the group of students volunteering, about 20 in 2012, is to provide food to people who cannot be sure where they will get their next meal.

“Community Servings is so great, and I personally love our partnership with them because we get to have direct contact with people who need food,” Weaver said.

While Pie in the Sky does not directly provide Thanksgiving meals, it provides Community Servings with the funds they need to provide meals throughout the year.

“[Pie in the Sky] helps spread the word for Community Servings and the services we provide,” Welch said. “We get connected to a pool of new donors.”

Community Servings will be delivering Thanksgiving meals Thursday night.

Weaver said Pie in the Sky has given the BU volunteers an opportunity to connect with other students who have the same interests as them.

“It was really nice to meet some more people who were doing Student Food Rescue or other CSC programs, because I wouldn’t have normally met them otherwise,” Weaver said.

Rivah Clemons, a COM freshman, said students could be more involved in collecting canned goods or clothes for donations.

“If there were students who could organize something, it would be a good cause and a good time for charitable things,” she said.

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