The Stony Brook Hillel Foundation collected items like canned goods, clothes and toiletries to donate to people in need. HAROLD NEAL/FLICKR VIA CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On May 3, the Stony Brook Hillel Foundation celebrated the culmination of its food collection efforts for the Mary Brennan Inn, a soup kitchen and food pantry.

What had originally been planned as a day of collecting supplies from students and staff in celebration of International Good Deeds Day, eventually expanded into a month-long collection effort, involving 42 different student groups, organizations and academic departments.

“At first, the problem was that we didn’t know where exactly to focus our efforts,” Tal Mansur, the coordinator of the event, said. “Although we had received suggestions which focused on growing environmental concerns, channeling our efforts into doing some kind of an ecological good deed – I personally preferred to do something which made an immediate difference in the lives of people who were in need.”

After hearing about Mansur’s plans, Tiffany Kormendi, a member of the Hillel Community Service Committee and senior history major, suggested hosting a supply drive for the Mary Brennan Inn. The organization helps those in need by providing a soup kitchen, food pantry, showers and on-site social workers.

Kormendi said the supply drive was successful, bringing in enough donations to fill five cardboard boxes – something that she attributes to the university community.

“Stony Brook University has an incredibly caring community,” Kormendi said.

Students and faculty donated to the cause at donation boxes set up by the Hillel Foundation earlier last month.

“Aside from the quality of people here at Stony Brook, the donation boxes set up throughout the university have made it incredibly easy for people to donate,” Kormendi said.

When collection day came around, students and representatives from various organizations involved in the collection effort signed in at a reception desk, where they received a snack as a small thanks for their good deeds and dropped off their box full of donations. After receiving the donations, volunteers from the Hillel Foundation and the organization’s community service committee sorted through the items. Volunteers worked to separate and sort the socks, shirts, toiletries and other goods.

“We had asked people to not just open their hearts, but also their closets and cabinets as a part of our efforts to do a good deed,” Kormendi said. “It is incredibly hopeful that so many different groups jumped on the opportunity to do some good.”