Adelphi's Social Work Action Gateway (SWAG) fights hunger on Long Island.
by Stephen Levine
This holiday season Adelphi social work students gave back to the community with a special gift—their time.
On November 19 at the Garden City campus, the Social Work Action Gateway (SWAG) kicked off Stop the Hunger Week with a PBJ-a-thon, where students made sandwiches that were donated to The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network), an organization on Long Island that serves the hungry and homeless.
Sara Bonne, junior, public relations adviser for SWAG, said the idea for this event came from Christine De Santis, a social work student doing an internship at The INN for her junior year.
“We wanted to be more active in the community and raise awareness,” added Lisa Rampersaud, junior and SWAG treasurer.
On November 21, at 7:30 p.m., SWAG hosted guest speakers from both The INN and Island Harvest to speak about hunger on Long Island and what students can do to help those in need.
On November 22 and 23, 2013, social work students teamed up with Midnight Run, a volunteer organization based out of New York City dedicated to finding common ground between the housed and the homeless. According to Schanica Pickens, student affairs coordinator for the School of Social Work, students from all Adelphi locations have been participating in the event for three years, in which they collect donations of clothing, travel-size toiletries and nonperishables, then personally distribute the items to homeless individuals at midnight. “It allows social workers to go from case to cause,” she said.
Ava Fevrier, a graduate student in the social work program at Adelphi’s Manhattan Center, explained, “We met with our (Midnight Run) guide, who provided us with a lot of information about the population we were about to encounter, and he gave us the opportunity to ask questions.”
Social work students said lessons learned from the experience were that anyone can become homeless, there is limited government assistance for this population and many of the homeless are very intelligent and resourceful individuals, which the students said they witnessed firsthand.
In addition to learning more about the homeless community, students said the experience gave them the chance to team up with Adelphi students from different campuses. Shanda Poyner, a senior at the Hauppauge campus, said, “It felt really good to give back and help others . . . if you work together, you can accomplish a lot of things.”
Ms. Fevrier added, “I hope everyone can afford to smile at any homeless person they pass, because the Midnight Run showed us that they are no different from us.”
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