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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus collects for food drive

    UA students, faculty and staff are teaming up to help needy children get proper nutrition on a bigger scale than ever this year through the UA4Food program.

    “”Our goal is to really address and help the food bank with childhood hunger and nutritional programs,”” said Holly Altman, a university outreach coordinator. “”We want to focus on children and make sure they have the proper nutrition and success.””

    The university, in conjunction with the Community Food Bank, is in the process of conducting several food drives as well as participating in various events, with the donations going to the Child Hunger and Nutrition Program.

    The program consists of three departments: Kid’s Club, Snak Paks and Summer Meals, all of which require donations to ensure they run properly.

    “”We are constantly gathering food for these programs. We are working all the time for them,”” said Jack Parris, media relations coordinator for the Community Food Bank.

    Donations will benefit all three departments this year, where before they went only to Snak Paks for Kids, which provides snacks for underprivileged kids to eat during the weekend.

    The program and its constituent parts are designed to assist low-income families throughout Tucson, Parris said, adding that more than 50,000 children in Pima County live in households that are at or below the poverty level.

    He said it’s important that children in those families were taught healthy eating habits and proper nutrition so they can build correct diets.

    “”If they don’t have much to eat they don’t have much of a chance,”” Altman said. “”This resonates through the UA community.””

    The Student Health Advisory Committee is only one UA affiliate with its hat in the ring for assisting the effort.

    The committee is hosting the second annual Run For Your Life, on April 13. The run takes participants around campus, starting from the west end of the UA Mall.

    Proceeds from the event will go to UA4Food and the food bank directly, as well as the farmers’ market held on the UA Mall each Wednesday, said David Salafsky, the committee’s community liaison.

    Anyone can sign up for the event he said. Last year, it raised $1,500.

    “”It’s a great opportunity to get out and be active,”” Salafsky said. “”At the same time, it’s helping out a great cause.””

    A unique contributor this year is the new Athletes 4 Food Drive, which concludes March 31.

    “”We extended a challenge to staff, coaches and student-athletes to see who could collect the most food,”” said Phoebe Chalk, assistant athletic director for special events.

    Student-athletes have long collected for the UA4Food campaign, she said.

    “”They do so much stuff, talking to young people about studying hard and staying away from drugs and they do things in the community,”” she said. “”It didn’t surprise me that they wanted to take this on and give back to the community. They love the feeling of making people feel good.””

    Other UA-related drives include collections within individual departments and a student-based educational banquet scheduled for April 28 in the Student Union Memorial Center.

    Visitors to this year’s Spring Fling festival, running April 10-13, will get $5 off wrist bands if they donate a can of food or jar of peanut butter.

    The Community Food Bank appreciates the hard work of all involved with UA year round, Parris said.

    “”It has been a tremendous help for us. People think of feeding the hungry in the holidays, but our donations drop off after that,”” he said. “”UA for Food helps bridge that time and they help us with these programs.””

    For more information about the UA4Food drive, and the Community Food Bank’s programs, visit www.ua4food.arizona.edu.

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