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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CatTran drive a success

    Deborah Kimball, part of the Staff Advisory Council, fills a CatTran bus with donated food items yesterday as part of the Stuff-the-CatTran food donation drive.
    Deborah Kimball, part of the Staff Advisory Council, fills a CatTran bus with donated food items yesterday as part of the Stuff-the-CatTran food donation drive.

    For one day, a UA CatTran bus picked up canned and nonperishable food instead of student passengers. .

    The bus sat at the intersection of North Cherry Avenue and University Boulevard from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. yesterday collecting food to donate to the Tucson Community Food Bank as part of a collaboration event between UA4Food, the Staff Advisory Council and Parking and Transportation Services.

    “”The whole idea was to get a focal point for the (annual food drive) effort,”” said Deborah Kimball, a board member of SAC, who came up with the “”Stuff-the-CatTran”” idea.

    One big collection would make it easier for the food bank, Kimball said, instead of having to pick up at 20 different locations.

    “”It’s been a lot of fun,”” she said. “”My one great idea of a lifetime and it turned out pretty well.””

    Kimball said she never expected the event to have such a huge turnout its first year and was pleasantly surprised.

    “”This is great, we have all types of people coming and donating food,”” Randy Livingston from SAC said.

    SAC wanted to get more involved in the food drive this year to help the Tucson community in tough economic times, he said.

    Livingston said that they had another truck standing by incase the CatTran got too full, but at the end of the day, the 40-foot-long bus turned out to be enough. It was almost full by 7 p.m.

    “”I’m happy with what we have,”” Livingston said.

    Besides collecting canned and dried food, the drive was also for money donations. The food bank can actually buy more food with donations because they purchase food in bulk, Joyce Childers, PTS program director, said.

    “”We had one woman come in … with food she had bought at Costco. She probably had $300 worth off stuff. Cereal, peanut butter, tuna, just cases of stuff,”” Childers said.

    Each year, UA4Food holds a faculty and staff food drive, but this is the first time the stuff-the-bus strategy has been used, Holly Altman, director of outreach and community partnerships for UA4Food, said.

    The drive went on for about three weeks in the different departments around campus, and then culminated with each department bringing their food to the bus yesterday. Students and the Tucson community were also encouraged to participate, she said.

    Altman said she hopes to make this an annual event.

    “”It’s working so well. Its not even 11 o’clock yet and we’ve gotten a lot of food,”” she said.

    Linda Hampton, events coordinator for the Tucson Community Food Bank, said that events like this are great for the food bank because people typically donate a lot during the holidays, but there is a need for food year-round and it is great to get such a huge donation at this time of year.

    There has been a 24 percent increase in the demand this year for food compared to the same time last year, Hampton said.

    “”The UA has done a lot to help the community,”” Hampton said. “”The Childhood Hunger and Nutrition programs have particularly received a lot of support from the UA.””

    UA4Food does many other food drive events throughout the year, Altman said. Another event going on right now is with Spring Fling. Students can get a discount on their wristband if they bring a food donation, she said.

    “”UA4Food is beginning to become a year long effort,”” Altman said.

    Some of the departments, like PTS, held contests between the different units to see who could donate the most food, Bill Davidson, marketing specialist, said.

    “”It looked great and we had a really good response,”” Davidson said.

    Childers said she thinks the CatTran drivers won their competition. They delivered the bus in the morning with several boxes of food already in it, a good start to the day.

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