By David Hunsaker, Mayor, University Student Apartments
Andrea Bodine is a mother of three who lives in university housing and feeds her family on a humble student loan budget while her husband attends medical school. But this year, despite her own needs, she decided to organize a food drive for those with greater needs than her own.
Andrea is the Resident Council Programs Officer for University Student Apartments—family housing at the University of Utah. She teamed up with the University of Utah Alumni Association to help support their annual food drive, which benefits the Utah Food Bank. Believing that residents of USA have a great deal to offer despite their modest budgets, Andrea solicited help from her from her peers, all in difficult situations like her own.
One might ask, “How much food can poor students actually give?” The answer: A lot. And, it was given from the heart.
Donation day at University Student Apartments (USA) arrived in mid-November and residents—many with children—began to stream into the food collection areas to drop off their offerings. USA’s Resident Council provided donuts and hot chocolate for those who came. As the donations kept coming, the event’s coordinators were increasingly surprised and inspired to see how many residents participated, giving what they could from meager resources. Though many of those giving could surely have used the food, they instead thought of others who might need it a little bit more.
Sarah and Blaine Bentley are living in University Student Housing while Blaine finishes his degree in biomedical engineering. Sarah finished her degree in mechanical engineering a couple of years ago and now, she watches their son at home throughout the week, along with other children for some extra income to get by. They too joined the crowd at the food drive, knowing that while their situation is difficult, others face much more challenging circumstances.
“Sure, we have limited resources while we’re going to school,” Sarah said, “but we know that there are people in worse situations than ours and we are happy to give and help them.”
At the end of the food drive, Andrea was pleased and impressed with the outcome. “We ended up with a lot of food, which we hope will help those in need,” she said. “And, it gave residents an opportunity to give back and think of others during this season of Thanksgiving.”
You don’t have to have a lot to feel the joy of giving, and the efforts of Andrea and the residents of University Student Apartments are a worthy testament to that. If you would like to participate in the food drive, University of Utah Alumni is accepting donations though November 26 at their temporary offices at 332 S 1400 E.