Sodexo to hold supply drive for Mid-Maine homeless shelter

On Friday, November 6, Sodexo will begin its annual drive, asking both employees and students to help donate necessary supplies to help the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. This drive, according to Director of Dining Hall Services Larry Llewellyn, will last from November 6 to November 24.

Sodexo’s annual charity drive, which has taken various forms over the past eight to ten years, will continue last year’s work with the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter.  Last year, Sodexo set up a blanket drive to help the homeless shelter, but found the drive conflicted with a similar movement hosted by the Colby Volunteer Center. This year, Sodexo is working directly with the shelter to find materials that the shelter is missing most. SGA President Michael Loginoff stressed the importance of students helping the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, noting that student donations are “supporting our local community, which has for so long supported Colby’s place in Waterville.” The Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, which currently has a capacity of 48 adult beds plus several cribs, is one of the few homeless shelters in central Maine, apart from one in Augusta.

The Sodexo Experience, an informal committee of hourly Sodexo employees, developed the idea for the supplies drive. In addition to the annual drive,  the Sodexo Experience also plans Sodexo’s annual holiday party on campus, a toy drive, and a barbecue during the summer. The committee, according to Llewellyn, believes that the supplies drive goes hand-in-hand with Sodexo’s broader vision of helping to stop hunger in the community.

In the past, Llewellyn noted that he has been proud of his staff for their charitable contributions to the community. He noted thatwhile hourly Sodexo employees do not have large amounts of disposable income, their generosity has been outstanding. He used last year’s toy drive as a prime example, when employees donated two of their bicycles as well as the Christmas tree used at the company’s holiday party. While Llewellyn says that there has been a “good amount of student involvement,” many of the donations come from Sodexo workers themselves. Many employees have been known to “chip in” together to buy a few bottles of detergent, and Llewellyn said that in the past he has personally reimbursed members of the staff after they go out to buy necessary goods. There is no set goal on the amount of goods that Sodexo hopes to donate, but Llewellyn hopes that members of the Colby community will give what they can.

Loginoff informed the Echo by email that the student government is helping Sodexo by “sharing the information with other student groups like the CVC and will include the information in our newsletters as well.” Similarly, SGA has partnered with the CVC for the No Damage November initiative, which will run concurrent to the supply drive. SGA has pledged to match $5,000 in student donations to help keep the shelter open 24/7 during the winter. Loginoff hope that “this campaign also puts our lives into perspective—we often damage and break our homes (dorms) here on campus, when many people in our community are not fortunate to even have a home.”

The items on the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter needs list include disinfecting wipes, laundry detergent, white kitchen trash bags (13 gallons), large black trash bags (30 gallons), toilet paper, paper towels, disposable gloves, hand soap refills, all-purpose cleaner sans ammonia, glass cleaner, aluminum foil, Saran Wrap, Ziploc bags (gallon and quart sized), dish soap, tissues, sponges, white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Donation bins will be placed in Dana, Roberts, and Foss as well as the Spa. Each donator will also be given an entry form for a raffle, where winners will receive a gift card.