SNHU faculty and staff gather for a photo before trekking out into Manchester to collect food.

The Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) partnered with the New Hampshire Food Bank for their tenth annual Give a Little, Feed a Lot (GALFAL) food drive held on Saturday, September 15. More than 150 student and faculty volunteers trekked into nearby Manchester neighborhoods to collect food from residents to deliver to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

The CCEL delivered brown paper bags to hundreds of homes in Manchester a week prior to the event, and residents were encouraged to fill them with nonperishable food items. They were then advised to leave the bags full of food outside their homes for volunteers to grab and bring to the on-site New Hampshire Food Bank truck.

Volunteers gathered on the green space at 9:30 Saturday morning for registration and sign in. They were given bright orange T-shirts and were greeted by CCEL student workers. Director Elizabeth Richards and guest speakers gave introductory speeches before volunteers traveled to their assigned routes in Manchester. Hannaford Supermarkets donated shopping carts for volunteers to place the collected food bags in. The food was then loaded on the truck to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

CCEL student worker and GALFAL volunteer, Ryan Bailey, has been helping coordinate this event for the last few years. He says he is fortunate to be a part of an organization that is so willing to give back to the community. He added that GAFAL is more than just a food drive and that it’s something that shows people that by donating a small amount of food, you can be a part of a movement that collects thousands of pounds of food for people in need.

“It makes the student body feel more connected to the Manchester community and it helps to show the people of Manchester that college students are more than the stereotypes we tend to put on,” Bailey said.

GALFAL has grown tremendously in size since its inception in 2009. During its first year, volunteers collected an impressive 4,225 pounds of food. The amount more than doubled in 2017 when 132 volunteers collected 8,680 pounds. 7,624 pounds of food were donated this year.

“It could not have been done without the massive number of volunteers that seem to come every single year with such enthusiasm, energy and willingness to help,” Bailey said. “The generosity of the Manchester community never ceases to amaze me.”

Once everyone completed their route, volunteers were treated to a barbecue on the Green Space. The impact of each volunteer’s hard work was on full display as the food bank truck got filled with food to be sent to those in need.

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