Fight Hunger: Athletics Teams Want Your Old Keys

November 07, 2012

Colleen Locke


During the holidays, we are reminded of those who are struggling to feed their families and themselves. But hunger is a problem year-round, in our cities, in our state, and on our campus, which is why the UMass Boston Athletics Department has teamed up with the Key for Hope foundation to collect used keys.

Keys collected at UMass Boston athletics games, the Campus Center, Joseph P. Healey Library, and the Quinn Administration Building this year will be melted down and sold as scrap metal. All proceeds will go to the U-ACCESS food pantry.

The U-ACCESS program initiative, officially known as the Office of Urban and Off-Campus Support Services, was established by the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs this February to support UMass Boston students struggling with poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, and other unanticipated events.

UMass Boston hockey player Alli Greenberg, a junior human services major, brought the foundation to the Athletics Department’s attention. Her father, Ralph Greenberg, started the foundation in 2006.

“I believe we can end hunger starting at UMass Boston,” Alli Greenberg said.

Why keys?

Ralph Greenberg said he was inspired by the story of children in Tennessee who collected millions of paper clips to commemorate each person killed in the Holocaust. He owns a scrap metal business in Avon, and he wanted to do something to fight hunger.  As he put it, he realized that “everybody’s got an old key.”

“I’m excited about this whole opportunity [at UMass Boston], because you know what, one key may not seem like much to most people, but when you collect the massive [amount of keys] we’ve collected, it shows that there is an ability for people to get together and create what I’m considering our hunger-fighting opportunity,” Ralph Greenberg said.

The foundation also has a program in schools, Keys in the Classroom. In total, more than half a million keys have been collected; the goal is to reach one million keys in 2012.

For more information about the Key for Hope foundation, visit, email, or call 1-800-949-5424.