During our summer planning meetings our chapter discussed which of the eleven topics to focus on for the Paradox of Affluence. Jacqueline Santa-Iglesias and Isaiah Roggow decided to focus on health: If America is so rich, why are we as a nation so sick and unhealthy? Jacqui and Isaiah discovered and researched the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD), and read the book The China Study. Jacqueline and Isaiah met repeatedly to discuss ideas of how to present this problem to the student body as a teaching tool. After much consideration and debate, they decided to hold a Healthy Food Drive on campus and also organize a volunteer outing to Second Harvest, a local food bank. Second Harvest is dedicated to distributing food to the needy of the Bay Area and in health education programs in keeping with the ‘teach a man to fish’ mentality.
We wanted this to be an all-campus effort; Isaiah met with his fellow presidents of Associated Students of Canada College (ASCC) and TRIO and formed a Food Drive Committee from members of all three student organizations.
Bins were set out, the food drive was promoted, and guidelines were set as to what ‘healthy food’ meant. This was also a social experiment for us to see just how responsive people would be to such a restriction such as ‘please only donate healthy food.’ We also wanted to see just what people thought was healthy, as the definition is not clearly defined and is subjective.
We also received support from our local community in downtown Redwood City. Ruhina Karmali, who works at The Daily Boost, a local coffee shop heard of our efforts and offered to help. She set out our bins and gave people a free cup of coffee if they donated a food item to the cause.
After two months of collection, we had gathered five bins of food, in which we distributed it to eight Canada students who qualified for FAFSA. All that was left was a half-bin of food, which was donated to Second Harvest.
People kept pretty well inside the guidelines and brought in nutritious and wholesome food, proving anecdotally that on the whole people in our socioeconomic strata know what healthy food entails. This brought us back to the original question of if we as a nation know the right thing to do is eat healthy foods, why don’t we do it?
We want to give a big "Thank You!" to the entire Food Drive Committee-all the students that got on board and helped out printing/posting flyers, putting out collection bins, and collecting the donated food.