SWAHP Coordinates Feinstein Challenge

Doris Kim

This month, Students’ War Against Hunger and Poverty, a student organization advocating hunger and homelessness awareness and aid, will hold their first annual Feinstein Challenge canned food drive. The food drive will take place both on the Lawrence University campus and in surrounding Appleton elementary schools.
Feinstein Challenge is a national program, reported as one of the most successful grassroots campaigns of all time in fighting hunger. Alan Shawn Feinstein, a retired financial writer, adviser, and nationally recognized philanthropist and humanitarian, founded the campaign nine years ago.
The program challenges schools across the country to fight hunger and collectively raise awareness between March 1 and April 30. Each year Feinstein has donated $1 million, which he has promised to distribute to the service agencies represented by participating student organizations. Even further, the Feinstein Challenge was able to raise up to $480 million for agencies nationwide.
“We thought it would be great [for Lawrence students] to be part of a national campaign,” said SWAHP co-president Liz Corey. “SWAHP is working with the National Student’s Campaign Against Homelessness, NSCAH, who brought Feinstein Challenge to our attention.
The more SWAHP and Lawrence University can raise, the larger the proportion of the $1 million SWAHP can obtain for the Emergency Shelter of Appleton.
Since the decision to take up the Feinstein Challenge, SWAHP has spread the challenge to nearby elementary schools, where members visited classrooms to educate students about hunger and homelessness related issues.
Members read stories and asked questions to facilitate student discussion. Richmond Elementary has already collected over 400 cans.
“I am extremely pleased with the enthusiasm we already have received from the local schools and from our student organizations,” said Susan Klumpner, SWAHP’s Feinstein Challenge coordinator.
Hunger and homelessness are issues that are relevant to the Appleton community, as some of these students’ families frequent the Emergency Shelter of Appleton themselves. Edison Elementary, a school where many Lawrence students volunteer, has 5 percent of their students registered as homeless.
Lawrence University has already shown great support for the Feinstein Challenge. Amnesty International went door to door to collect about 75 cans, Circle K has received $50 from Kiwanis, and fraternity Delta Tau Delta has donated $100 to the cause.
Each dollar donated is counted as one can donation. Presently, SWAHP has received about 700 can donations for the Feinstein Challenge.
“I only expect good things this year from this service project, and in years to come,” said Klumpner.
Lawrence students can get involved with the Feinstein Challenge by donating canned food, other nonperishable items, and monetary donations until April 16. Donation areas can be found in student residence halls and Memorial Union.
Another way to participate is through the campus “dorm storm,” held April 16 from 7-9 p.m. Members of competing student organizations will be invading the dorms, looking for final donations.
“[Dorm storm’s] main point is to get a final push to get more can and money donations from students,” said SWAHP co-president Samantha Gibb. “This is also a way for us to say how much student organizations and faculty have already donated. Hopefully the students will become more concerned [with hunger and homelessness issues] and participate themselves.