Project Polity Gives Back to the Community

November 7, 2016 | By Tim Pratt

Project Polity gathers for the canned food drive.
Volunteers gather for the canned food drive.

It was two nights before Halloween, and St. John’s College students were hitting the streets of downtown Annapolis.  

Many city residents were busy putting the finishing touches on Halloween costumes, but the Johnnies were up to something else.

They were taking part in Project Polity’s annual Trick or Treating for Canned Goods event to benefit the Light House homeless prevention and support center on Hudson Street.

The volunteers, some donned in costumes, ended up collecting 486 pounds of food for the less fortunate.

“I think it’s great because they are in downtown Annapolis and they are participating in an outreach that supports the greater Annapolis community,” says Marie Treanor, volunteer programs coordinator at the Light House. “As pretty as Annapolis is, there’s a large contingency of very needy families in the area. It’s great to see students being aware of that at such a young age and taking time to look outside of themselves.”

Project Polity archons distributed about 600 flyers in town to notify residents of the drive. Then, on the Saturday before Halloween, they went door to door.

A truck full of canned goods awaits delivery to the Light House shelter.
A truck full of canned goods is ready for delivery to the Light House in Annapolis.

The volunteers were “pleasantly surprised” with how many bags of canned goods residents left on their doorsteps, says Adna Arnaout, a Project Polity archon.

“We were astonished by the contribution of our Johnnies and extremely happy (with) the outcome of the event,” Arnaout says.

The Light House uses its canned good donations to stock its food pantry. The food is then redistributed to needy families in pantry bags three times a week. The pantry bags will feed a family of four for three days.

Families that receive the bags can then spend the money they would have spent on food to pay rent, phone bills and other day-to-day living expenses, Treanor says. The ability to do that helps prevent homelessness, she says.

The shelter is grateful for the Johnnies, Treanor says, especially considering all of the work that went into the drive: organizing, distributing flyers, picking up food and dropping it off at the shelter.

“That’s a lot of effort,” Treanor says. “We are always very appreciative when college students do something like that.”

The event is one of several organized by Project Polity. The group actively engages in service to the college and the greater Annapolis community, while working to forge sustainable relationships between the two.