June 15, 2024

Two pounds of food a minute.
That’s the pace that four international education students, along with international education activities co-ordinator Samantha Lichtenheldt, were able to maintain while collecting donations for the CSI Food Bank at a local grocery store on Oct. 12.
The two and a half hours spent at the grocery store saw the group collect 300 pounds of food items. Lichtenheldt’s diminutive vehicle proved barely capable of hauling all of it back from the Food Basics on Fairway Road to the Doon campus. The students had soup cans piled on their laps in an attempt to use all the available space.
“It was like a clown car … we were surprised by a long shot,” Lichtenheldt said.
The idea to help the food bank, which serves as an emergency resource for students in need, came as a result of hearing about the lack of donations and seeing the empty shelves inside the room. The international education department collaborated to create the plan.
“I’m an Italian, so I need to see food everywhere … for me, it wasn’t up to my cultural standards,” Lichtenheldt joked.
The four students who participated hailed from four different countries: India, Saudi Arabia, China and Nigeria. For some, this event was much like similar traditions back home. For others, it was unlike anything they’d experienced.
For example, the student from Saudi Arabia said he had never seen anything like this event, while the student from India said that Sundays are often used to serve communal meals to the community.
Lichtenheldt said the trip was initially supposed to be even longer, but their departure was delayed due to being locked out of the international education office.
“Had we been there for four hours, we’re projecting it would have doubled.”
With such a large collection of donations in so short a time, it would be easy to assume that this trip was planned well in advance. That couldn’t be further from the truth: the idea to collect donations came only two days beforehand. The four students made themselves available on short notice to assist with the collection of the 300-pound donation.
The end result, according to CSI president Jason Wright, was astonishment.
“We were floored,” Wright said. Lichtenheldt said she was happy to be a part of the event, which helped students struggling in our own community while also providing valuable experience for international education students.
“It was a really proud moment for me to watch them do that,” she said.