Geneseo Gives Back program raises money for InterFaith Center, local charities

The 11th annual Geneseo Gives Back program raised over $8,000 for the InterFaith Center and other local charity organizations by collecting donated items from students and hosting a tag sale. As part of the program, students donated clothes and non-perishable food items in bins set up throughout residence halls and around the Geneseo campus. The donation drive ran from mid-April to the end of the academic year. The total food donated this year weighed 1,170.25 lbs, according to Coordinator of the Geneseo Gives Back program Sarah McLean.

McLean and her volunteers picked up the donations from residence halls and brought them to the InterFaith Center. After commencement this year, some student volunteers stayed on campus and helped load the food and other goods onto buses so that the donations could be sent to the other charity organizations.

“The students were helpful not only in donating this year, but also in helping load the bus so we could get the food back to the pantry,” sub-coordinator of the Geneseo-Groveland Emergency Food Pantry Elizabeth Hoey said.

The Geneseo-Groveland Emergency Food Pantry has been serving the east side of Conesus Lake for 18 years and welcomed the large donation, Hoey said.

“The Geneseo community is really good to us; I think we got more from students this year than we have in years past,” she said.

In addition to the collaboration between the Geneseo-Groveland Emergency Food Pantry and Geneseo, the organization also sets up drives at post offices where people can donate food, Hoey said. The food pantry will be moving to the Central Presbyterian Church on Second and Center Street by Nov. 1, with the new hours being 10-2 p.m. on Tuesdays and 4-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Geneseo Gives Back also sent donations to the Backpack Program, the Geneseo Parish Outreach Center and Teresa House hospice.

Teresa House is a hospice located on Highland Road in Geneseo and serves two residents at a time—both of whom have received a diagnosis of three months or less to live.

Teresa House wants their residents to feel as if they are at home and to be as comfortable as possible, Teresa House Executive Director Linda Simmons said.

“We put out our wish list of needs—bottled water, soda, fruit cups, toilet paper, paper towels—and were very happy to have our needs met … We run almost entirely on donations and receive no government reimbursement,” Simmons said.

Aside from donating food, Geneseo Gives Back program also focuses on raising money to fund the IFC. In order to generate such funds, Geneseo Gives Back hosted its annual tag sale on move-in day weekend. The tag sale provided an opportunity for students to purchase furniture for lower prices. This event allowed the IFC to raise money for its operating budget and to renovate its roof.

“We had a huge increase of first year students at the tag sale this year, which is great because it introduces them to the whole idea of the Geneseo Gives Back recycling program,” McLean said. “People constantly say, ‘Oh I can’t believe the students threw this away’ and I’ll say, ‘They didn’t throw it away, they donated it.’”