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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA4Food raises twice its goals

    Raising more than double the original goals for both food and money was cause for celebration at the UA4Food finale on Friday.

    The program started raising money in late February for the Community Food Bank’s SnakPak for Kids program, which provides low-income children with a backpack full of food to take home each weekend.

    The UA community raised more than $21,425 and 5,700 pounds of food during the two-month drive, and Main Gate Square merchants have pledged to contribute an additional $10,000 to the program – bringing the total to more than $30,000.

    Especially as an athlete, I know how important nutrition is for kids. Not just for sports, but for
    doing well in school.

    – Ivan Radenovic,
    men’s basketball team

    More than half the money raised by the UA was contributed by faculty and staff, while the student-run Spring Fling carnival collected more than 4,300 pounds of food by offering a discount on wristbands.

    But the true success of the event was gathering enough resources to start a SnakPak program at Davis Elementary School, said Sherie Steele, director of development at the food bank.

    “”This has been an extraordinary success,”” Steele said. “”Virtually every faculty department and student department has contributed some from their own individual food drives.””

    Starting a program at Davis Elementary School costs $10,000, and there are already four other elementary schools in the SnakPak program.

    St. Ambrose Church will also contribute to the SnakPak program by actually stuffing the backpacks with food and handing them out to children in need at all five elementary schools, said Jane McCollum of the Marshall Foundation, who works with the Main Gate Square merchants.

    “”The whole experience of working with UA4Food was great,”” McCollum said. “”SnakPak gave us a focus, and we’re looking forward to the next phase.””

    Although the UA4Food drive ended Friday, McCollum said some Main Gate Square merchants would still be striving to reach their $10,000 goal through discounts and special events.

    “”We have commitments – we’re pledging actual food but won’t know what’s needed until the fall,”” McCollum said. “”Anything we raise over that $10,000 will be helpful for continuing the program into the future.””

    The campus community has really grasped the severity of hunger in Pima County, said Holly Altman, co-chair of UA4Food and outreach coordinator for the UA Community Relations office.

    “”We’ve realized the numbers are important,”” Altman said, speaking about the more than 7,000 children living in poverty in Pima County. “”But what this really is about is building community, connections and compassion.””

    The Davis Elementary Folklorico Dancers put on a show in the courtyard of the Forbes building for the crowd at the celebration, and a signed men’s basketball was raffled off by UA men’s basketball team sophomore forward Ivan Radenovich, who happily signed autographs and posed for pictures with the kids at the event.

    “”I’d just like to thank the UA community for its charity,”” Radenovich said. “”Especially as an athlete, I know how important nutrition is for kids. Not just for sports, but for doing well in school.””

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