Story and photos by Stephen Wilson

Hungry for a win, Lafayette entered Rivalry Week with one goal: End hunger.

Sure, the game against Lehigh was important, but it was also National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

So members of both Landis Center for Community Engagement and Lafayette Activities Forum (LAF), donning their Leopard gear, banded together to address local hunger.

Landis ran a food drive all week, collecting cash donations and high-priority items needed at area pantries. LAF turned its traditional rivalry giveaway item into a fundraiser, collecting a $5 donation for each Lafayette-Lehigh T-shirt.

The goal was to sell all 500 shirts that week.

Shelves of canned and packaged goods at a food pantryTwo hours into the sale, the shirts were sold out.

Still, the collection continued. By week’s end the two organizations raised $2,500 and received more than 1,200 pounds of non-perishable food.

“LAF was looking for an opportunity to partner with Landis and give our Rivalry Week giveaway more purpose by going outside the campus and impacting the community,” says Ayleen Correa  ’19, president of LAF. “Thanks to our Traditions Committee and to Landis for making this first-time partnership such a success.”

Members of both groups took earnings to local pantries. ProJeCt of Easton offers adult education, family literacy, school-based programming, and emergency services that include its food pantry. The nonprofit received a check for $1250 and canned goods for its shelves.

A sign for the ProJeCt of Easton Interfaith Food Pantry“Having organizations like Lafayette is of tremendous help to us,” says Tom Harper, director of development. “To see these vibrant students continue a legacy of support is truly appreciated.”

The second recipient was Cheston Elementary School.

“Next year we will pilot a food pantry program based on a model developed by a Lafayette student working on an honors thesis,” says Staci Zsilavecz, community school coordinator at Cheston. “While the donation will help fund that project, we will distribute the canned goods as part of our holiday food assistance program, helping students who might need food this time of year.”

Seems like this Rivalry Week ended with a win for everyone.

A group photo with an oversized $1,250 check for ProJeCt Food Pantry

Michele Kennedy, food pantry coordinator, ProJeCt of Easton, holds the check. Joining her (L-R) are Melissa Dalrymple, assistant director of student leadership and involvement at Lafayette; Fraynette Familia ’20, LAF; Karla Carino ’21, LAF; Ayleen Correa ’19, LAF; Sydney Edelson ’19, Landis Center; Katie Hill ’20, Landis Center; Jafar Bhatti, ’19, Landis Center; Julia O’Malley ’19, Landis Center; and Amber Zuber, director of leadership and service programs, Landis Center.

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