Student serves community with ‘Give a Cup, Get a Cup’


The Appalachian Online

Kelsey Hamm

To help the local Hospitality House, Samantha Anderson recently started “Give a Cup, Get a Cup” for her senior art studio class project.

The first donation event took place on Oct. 9 in the Plemmons Student Union. Instead of dedicating money, passing students dedicated a moment of their time to benefit the local community, Anderson said. Students bagged and labeled small packages of rice before receiving a cup of their own.

The program will run consecutively throughout October and November in the student union. “Give a Cup, Get a Cup” is unique because it is not monetarily based, Anderson said.

“This is a social practice focused on bringing people together to make people aware of hunger in their own community,” she said. “A lot of people think they need to donate money and a lot of people are turned off by that — but time can be just as helpful. A lot of times people need help, not money, and making a bag of rice can be a huge difference to people in need.”

Often, organizations in the community can only give food for free once a week, Anderson said.

“This is based on small acts of kindness,” Anderson said. “You’re packing up a meal and you can also feed yourself. The meals will all go to the Hospitality House to be handed out to people. This project is not organization based, so these bags can be handed out on any day so no one is turned away from food.”

Sophomore business management major Shrisha Pradhananga recognized the artistic aspect of the project in terms of packaging. The bags are cleanly designed, she said.

“I found the presentation of this really cute,” Pradhananga said, “and I could tell it wasn’t a monetary thing — it was about manual labor and so I liked it. Not everyone has the opportunity to get food. Here in the U.S. people seem to take food for granted. They buy whatever they want and when they don’t want it they throw it away. This is not okay to the people who actually need it.”

The idea for the project related to Anderson’s own travels, she said.

“I decided to do this project because I’ve traveled a lot across the country and the three things I’ve come into contact with were people, rice and hunger,” she said. “When I was in Morocco, people died trying to make a living by moving food around the country. They died from a simple rain storm, over something as simple as trying to deliver apples.”

It can make a huge difference when locals don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, Anderson said. Often, people just fall on hard times.

Those hoping to participate can assist by visiting the booths or by driving food to the Hospitality House.

“When someone is deciding between a way to pay for housing and the next meal, that can be stressful,” she said. “If they can get their food somewhere it makes a huge difference.”

The next donation event will be announced on the “Give a Cup, Get a Cup” Facebook page.

Story by: Kelsey Hamm, A&E Editor