West Windsor, N.J. – When Mercer County Community College (MCCC) sophomore Amanda Kleinmann, of Hamilton, was looking for a community service project last summer, it started simply enough. She spent some time at the Mercer Street Friends (MSF) Food Bank in Trenton, helping to organize inventory and pack food as she learned about the organization’s important work to feed the hungry and serve the homeless.
Her volunteer work took on a broader mission when she and her brother, a junior at Hamilton West High School, decided to join the statewide “Students Change Hunger” food drive, organized locally through MSF.
Kleinmann, an NJSTARS scholar at Mercer, approached the NJSTARS Club and the MCCC Student Activities office for their support at the start of the fall semester. And then she was off and running. She placed 60 donation boxes in classrooms and hallways at both campuses – and harnessed the resources and support of the entire MCCC community.
Throughout the fall, Kleinmann made her collection rounds every day, delivering donations to the MSF’s Food Bank at the end of the week. The donations were weighed on a large scale and a log was kept of the growing total.
“Every other week, it was another 100 lbs.,” she reports, adding that by the end of the three-month challenge in November, she had collected almost 800 lbs. of non-perishable foods items.
She notes that faculty members added their support, especially Richard Porter (Mathematics), who posted a request on his website, and Charlene Sharkey (Mathematics), who teaches classes at the Trenton campus and brought back an additional 150 lbs. of donations from Trenton staff and students.