Glen Vinson Jr., director of operations at Howard’s Rankin Memorial Chapel, walks through the street along Georgia Avenue alongside the university to collect donations.

WASHINGTON — Howard University students and the staff of WHUR 96.3 FM radio station lined up along Georgia Avenue alongside the university and Fourth Street in the heart of the campus this week to collect money.

They held signs, flagged down cars at red lights and stopped people on sidewalks to collect donations for 12 hours Tuesday to help feed families during Thanksgiving.

Their effort is called Food2Feed. and it is now in its 38th year.   Through street donations, call-in credit card pledges and the radio station’s website, WHUR raised $77,433 this year, nearly $2,500 more than it did last year.

Everette Hamilton, a Howard University sophomore biology major, volunteered at the sign-in table for the fundraiser from 8 a.m. to10:00 a.m. before her classes started.  

“Everyone deserves a Thanksgiving dinner,” Hamilton said. “There’s no excuse as to why you can’t spend some of your time giving back especially when you’re on campus,”

Deborah Boatwright, a volunteer from Howard University’s Rankin Memorial Chapel collects donations from a passing car.

Ironically, for the first time in the history of the effort, the station went to the streets along Georgia outside Howard University rather than another location, said Triscina Grey, who has been working for the station as a mid-day personality for WHUR for the past 25 years.

“I personally feel it’s not a new location, because wherever we go, WHUR is always in our heart,” Grey said. “No matter where we position ourselves, we’re really at home.

Every donation, including the nonperishable items some brought to the station, helps, she said.

“Of course, we can’t save the world, but whatever we can do, we’ll make a difference to so many families,” she said.

Last year, the fundraiser, which lasts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., took place at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. Before that, the station held the fundraiser primarily at the Old Post Office Pavilion which is currently being renovated as a Donald Trump Hotel.

Student volunteer Everette Hamilton signs up other students who volunteer to take donations from drivers along Georgia Avenue outside Howard University.

“Bringing it here to the Howard University community just makes sense, and it even saves us lots of money and we can even raise more money to help needy families,” said Renee Nash, WHUR director of news and public affairs said.

The proceeds from the fundraiser will be split between the Capital Area Food Bank and Shabach Ministries.

The food bank partners with community organizations in Washington, Maryland and Virginia to deliver food to those in need.  It annually serves 540,000 people.   Shabach Ministries is a Baptist organization that offers emergency services, including food.

“They serve a lot of the Maryland side and Capital Area serves a lot of the D.C. side,” said Sean Plater, deputy manager of WHUR.  “So, they have proven to be two of the greatest organizations in the area. We see the work they do beyond this event and those are the people we want to be in partnership with.”

Additionally, Plater said, the WHUR staff buys all the food by the end of the week, and distributes the baskets starting next week to the organizations.  

“It’s truly are biggest event of the year,” he said. “We serve the community with a radio station that plays great music and that entertains, but at the core of who we are, it’s about service to the community. If we don’t help people, then why are we here?  

“A lot of times it’s not just the homeless it’s just working homeless. You have people that go to work every day but just can’t afford to eat. It could be you. You never know when you’ll fall on hard times.”

Those in need of assistance can call WHUR’s Renee Nash at 202-806-3623

Capital Area Food Bank hotline at 202.644.9807