Making A World of Difference

School of Social Work Donation Drive to Fight Hunger in Syracuse

March is National Social Work Month, and this year’s theme is “The Time Is Right for Social Work.”

For Falk College’s School of Social Work, the time is right to help support the fight against hunger in the Syracuse community.

In recognition of Social Work Month, the School of Social Work undergraduate and graduate students are holding a donation drive to help the Huntington Family Centers food pantry in downtown Syracuse. Huntington Family Centers, Inc., is a neighborhood-based, multi-service agency that has been serving youth, families and older adults in the community for more than 100 years.

“MSW and BSSW students have enthusiastically organized this donation drive to carry out the mission of social work: to serve others,” says Jennifer Cornish Genovese, an assistant teaching professor in the School of Social Work and the Master of Social Work program director. “Our students understand the importance of human relationships and are enhancing the dignity and worth of others through this donation drive.”

4 persons are organizing items in a room
Master of Social Work students, from front to back, Sarah Millwood, Rob Ryan, Kiara Marie Lee and Nathalie Barr (putting a donated item in a box) arrange and box items donated to the drive to benefit the Huntington Family Centers food pantry.

Food and other essentials will be collected throughout March at donation boxes throughout the Falk College complex, or they can be sent directly to the School of Social Work through its Amazon Wish List (the full list of items is below).

“As a future social worker and human being, I feel it’s our duty to do what we can to ensure that our community members’ basic needs are met,” says Social Work graduate student Kiara Marie Lee. “Food should be a human right, but so many people in this country lack consistent access to it.

“If everyone who is aware of this donation drive contributed just one food or household item to Huntington Family Centers, I can’t fathom the kind of impact that would have,” Lee adds. “A one-pound box of spaghetti that costs a little more than $1 could potentially feed a family of four. Something that seems small could make a world of difference to someone else.”

Lee and fellow graduate student Nathalie Barr were, as Genovese says, the “driving forces” behind the School of Social Work clothing drive this past December for We Rise Above the Streets, a Syracuse-based organization that strives to break the cycle of homelessness. Lee and Barr asked if they could organize a similar drive for the spring to coincide with National Social Work Month, and they selected Huntington Family Centers because they wanted to address the issue of food insecurity in Syracuse.

“As someone who is going through school to be a Social Worker, it is important to help people when they are in need,” Barr says. “Sometimes we as a society take basic necessities for granted, but there are many people in our local community who struggle.

“This donation drive is a simple task that we can do to help combat some struggles that individuals may be experiencing,” Barr adds. “I am humbled to be a part of this experience and grateful to be in a position to give back to others.”

According to its website, Huntington Family Centers is “deeply rooted in the ‘settlement house’ tradition and dedicated to the dignity and self-worth of all individuals and committed to enhancing the lives of families and children for the future of our community. We accomplish this through diverse, year-round programming designed to strengthen individuals and families in a safe, caring environment.”

Genovese says students will collect and bag the items and deliver them to Huntington Family Centers throughout March.

“I am proud of Kiara, Nathalie and all of our students–we could not have done this without them!” says Genovese. “We ask the campus community to please join us in this important drive as we celebrate Social Work Month and serve our community by supporting the Huntington Family Centers food pantry.”

The School of Social Work is collecting the following items:


Spices, Salt, Pepper
Boxed Milk
Gluten-Free, Non-Perishable Foods/Snacks
Boxed Rice
Boxed Stuffing
Boxed Cake/Brownie Mix
Spaghetti Sauce
Fruit Juice (100%)
Macaroni and Cheese
Pancake Mix
Pancake Syrup
Peanut Butter


Feminine Hygiene Products


Baby Wipes
Dishwashing Detergent
Reusable Grocery Bags
Paper Products (Plates, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper)
Plastic utensils
Can Openers