Dump and Run a Win for Students and Community

pictureIt's a win-win situation: Ferris State University students don't want to pack or store extra items as they move off of campus for the summer, and Big Rapids area community organizations need household goods to provide to needy families.

The fifth annual Dump and Run event, made possible by Ferris, the Big Rapids community and Immanuel Lutheran Church volunteers, gathers household goods that students and local community members might otherwise throw away, giving used items a second life by streamlining the donation process. From Monday, May 2 to Friday, May 6, students living on campus are encouraged to dump "anything, anytime" in the lobby of Ferris’ 18 residence halls. Students and local community members also are welcome to drop off items in the lobby of Masselink Hall from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In the process of moving out for the summer, many Ferris students realize that they do not want the extra work of packing and transporting food and other items they no longer need. Similarly, many members of the community donate after spring cleaning. Volunteers make the donation process as easy as the event’s name implies to prevent useful items from being wasted or cluttering landfills.

Dump and Run organizers distribute food items to area food pantries and provide clothes or household goods to charitable organizations throughout the community. This year’s donations will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mecosta and Osceola Counties, Project Starburst, Manna Pantry, the American Legion of Morley-Stanwood, WISE, Love Inc. and Eagle Village.

"The first day was a great turnout. We had more than 700 individual items," event coordinator Mary Ann Wolken, of Immanuel Lutheran, said on Wednesday as she surveyed the rows of donated items in the Masselink lobby staging area. "Unusually, this year, we have less food than clothing, but it’s still very gratifying to us because these are perfectly good items that might otherwise be in the dumpster."

Wolken and fellow Dump and Run organizer Charles Hurt, Ferris professor emeritus and Immanuel Lutheran volunteer, have been hard at work coordinating drop-offs and distribution. Fifteen other volunteers from Immanuel Lutheran will help in the effort this year. Fifteen more volunteers from the New Journey Clubhouse, a local organization for young adults with disabilities, have joined them.

At the close of the event, children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters will have the opportunity to select from donated clothing before it is distributed to other charitable organizations. Because college students’ clothing donations tend to include more fashionable and wearable items, the event is a big confidence-builder for the recipients.

“Dump and Run helps our kids who need clothing and builds their self-esteem,” said John Calabrese, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mecosta and Osceola Counties. “Donated items are put to a good use – helping our communities.”

To learn more, donate goods or become involved in Dump and Run’s efforts, contact Mary Ann Wolken at (231) 972-7756 or lwolken@charter.net.

04 May, 2011