Numerous colleges and universities host festive events for employees at this time of year.
Since the economic downturn in 2007, Harcum College has instead donated $1,000 that it might have spent on a faculty and staff party to Philabundance, a Philadelphia-based food bank.
“There is profound need in our community,” said Dr. Jon Jay DeTemple, president of Harcum College. “Even though the holiday party is somewhat of a tradition in higher education, we determined that the needs of hungry families and children in our area should be placed ahead of a college community celebration. At this time of year, we should be thinking of the needs of others first and acting in that same spirit.”
Lacking a formal holiday get-together, the campus community initiated an informal potluck luncheon, held annually in the Charles H. Trout Library. Faculty and staff signed up to bring appetizers, entrees, salads, desserts, paper goods, drinks, and ice — all arranged on long tables ringing the Strauss Family rotunda.
According to the Philabundance, hunger affects nearly 900,000 people throughout the Delaware Valley. Philabundance provides food to approximately 72,000 people per week in nine counties in the Delaware Valley via a network of nearly 500 member agencies, including food cupboards, shelters, emergency kitchen, and more. They estimate that 23 percent of those who need food are children and 16 percent are senior citizens.
Harcum’s event this year also included a door decorating contest among employees. The Admissions Department won first place with its “Gingerbread Street” workspace.