Bingo night previews Hunger Campaign
November 25, 2009
"Bingo!" an excited man yells from the back of a crowded dining room. He is capitalizing on a "G-56" call, the last of several winners of the evening. He makes his way to the prize table, selecting the only prize left—a green scarf. He proudly grabs the scarf and throws it over his shoulders, saying a quick, "Thanks man" to the announcer. The other players give a brief round of applause before clearing the macaroni markers off of their Bingo scorecards. After all the materials are gathered up, the nine Calvin students running the Bingo night say their thank-yous and head back to campus.
Filling a need
Thus was the scene Nov. 23, 2009, at Dégagé, a soup kitchen and shelter for the homeless in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. Dégagé is one of many food-and service-providing organizations in Grand Rapids which aids those in need. Most of these organizations function with help from volunteers. And for the 2010 spring semester, the Hunger Campaign, organized by Calvin's student senate, is calling upon the student body to be those volunteers.
"The Hunger Campaign is a movement to help connect the Calvin community with the Grand Rapids community," said Andrea Beukema, a Calvin junior and the student senate vice president. Beukema, who organized the event at Dégagé, was one of the seven student senate members and two guests who attended the Bingo Night.
She wanted the student leaders to understand how much work the campaign would entail. "The Hunger Campaign will officially be launched second semester," Beukema said, "and will be connected with different organizations in the Grand Rapids area that reach out to those who are in need." Among those organizations are Mel Trotter Ministries, The Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.
Lives of service
Student senate feels this is an opportunity for Calvin students to learn to serve in their community: "By getting students actively involved while they are in college, we hope they will continue to serve their communities whether they stay in Grand Rapids or venture elsewhere," Beukema said.
The Hunger Campaign will not only promote involvement in volunteer ministry—it will also provide the means (transportation, scheduling, etc) to volunteer.
Students interested in volunteering in the Hunger Campaign will have a variety of opportunities to do so after the New Year. "There will be opportunities for Calvin students to donate their time or money to become part of this movement," Beukema said. “Look for posters around campus, or feel free to stop by the student senate office to learn more about the Hunger Campaign."
Members of student senate encourage Calvin students to volunteer not only for the sake of those in need of assistance, but for the experience of donating time and resources to somebody else. As Beukema said, "Reaching out to those who are less fortunate has taught me how to be generous in spite of how much I have or how much I lack.”
~by Cloud Cray, communications and marketing