Hopkins’ annual fund-raiser for the Connecticut Food Bank will begin on October 22.
Hopkins’ annual fund-raiser for the Connecticut Food Bank will begin on October 22. Last year, the school raised a total of $97,069.27, breaking the previous year’s record of $85,052.07.
Students primarily raise money by fund-raising outside stores in towns such as New Haven, Westport, and Fairfield from October to December. It can sometimes be difficult to find time in students’ busy schedules to spend hours fund-raising, but Student Council makes sure the locations are accessible. Student Council President Phil Ross ’17 said: “We’re working on location proximity. Every time we get locations, we go through the Hopkins directory looking where people live and we really try to make [the fund-raising locations] proportional to that.”
Fund-raising hours are only one of the ways Hopkins raises money, however. Each year, Student Council plans several events and donates the proceeds to the Food Bank. “We’re going to bring back Can Jam, we thought that was a big success,” said Ross ’17. “The haunted house and the Yule Ball have always been solid successes [too].”
Along with past profitable activities, Student Council has planned some new events as well. Ross ’17 said future plans could involve “fund-raising at night time locations such as Pepe Pizza and outside Yale hockey games, or [having] food trucks come and a percentage of that cash netted go to the Canned Food Drive, similar to Chipotle Day.”
While the Canned Food Drive is primarily an opportunity to help the less fortunate, it is also a competition between the grades. In the past, the competition focused on the amount of money raised, but Student Council representatives found that measuring in hours was more effective. “I would like to keep the money secondary, because that’s more of an independent variable,” added Ross ’17.
Many students enjoy fund-raising as a way to spend time with friends. “Some of the most fun times in my life happened while fund-raising… I met a few of my best friends while fund-raising last year and I’ve never been bored doing it,” described Student Council representative Madeline Walker ’19. Student Council representative Caroline Simon ’17 added: “No one has ever regretted fund-raising for the CFD.”
However, the most important aspect of the Hopkins Food Drive is the opportunity to give back to the community and help others. Mary Kate Carofano, Chief Development Officer of the Connecticut Food Bank, explained: “Research from Feeding America estimates that 300,000 people in our six-county service area struggle with hunger. One in six children in our area struggles with hunger. On an average the CT Food Bank serves close to 150,000 people each month.”
Hopkins students can be unaware of the privileges they have. Walker ’19 said: “I don’t think it’s fair that we can have such great lives and not use the opportunities that we have to help others. Hopkins is on its own hill that looks over everything, but sometimes we need to get off The Hill and make a difference in everybody else’s lives.” Simon ’17 added: “At Hopkins, students have to do a lot for ourselves – homework, sports, college apps for some – but fund-raising is the best opportunity to do something for others in our state for just a couple of hours a week.”
Sophomore Class President Sam Jenkins ’19 explained: “When we get out on the streets the problem of hunger becomes real. Every time someone thanks us for what we are doing or tells us how the Food Bank saved them, you can see and feel the impact we are making one hour at a time.” “This is a chance to realize that…we live in a place of privilege, and it’s very important that from this place of privilege we make it our priority to help those who are in need,” Ross ’17 said.
The money raised by Hopkins students makes a big difference in the amount of people the Food Bank is able to help. “Hopkins is the largest school-based fund-raising program we have. Last year, students raised nearly $100,000 to support our work. We can turn each dollar into enough food to provide two meals, meaning that Hopkins students raised nearly 200,000 meals for people in our community who are hungry,” stated Carofano. “I feel I truly do have the greatest job in the world. Every single day, I know I am making a difference in the life of one of my neighbors, one of your neighbors,” Carofano continued.
“When you actually take the time to think about what you’re doing for people, you realize that this isn’t something Student Council is asking you do for our school, or our grade, or even for the sake of community service,” said Jenkins ’19. “It’s something that we ask you to try for you, because making an impact on other people is a one-of-a-kind feeling that keeps people fund-raising for hours on end, even in sub-zero temperatures.”