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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Competitors’ real foe: hunger

    UA student groups will compete to raise money and food as donations to the Tucson Community Food Bank during the UA 4 Food-sponsored event “”Fight, Hunger, Fight,”” which will take place on Dec. 5 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Main Gate Square.

    Groups from across campus have been invited to compete for a $500 cash prize, donated by the Marshall Foundation, and will set up receptacles along University Boulevard and Park Avenue to collect donations not only from students, but from the entire Tucson community, said Jane McCollum, general manager of the Marshall Foundation.

    “”This is the first time we’re going to try this; times are tough for the Food Bank and the community as a whole right now,”” McCollum said. This is a “”way to get money in the hands of student groups who will probably face more cuts next year as well.””

    Anyone who donates will also be eligible to win one of more than 50 prizes, including a PlayStation 3, by receiving one raffle ticket for every two items of food or two dollars they donate during the event, McCollum said.

    The popular local reggae/smooth rock band Hecker will also perform live from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and all proceeds from the event will go to the Community Food Bank, McCollum said.

    “”Fight, Hunger, Fight”” is only one of many food drives that are part of UA 4 Food, which “”has turned into a year-round effort,”” said Holly Altman, outreach coordinator of the UA Office of Community Relations.

    UA 4 Food started about four years ago as an annual week-long event but is “”moving towards becoming a food drive resource center and collective marketing tool”” that will be available all year long to anyone who wants to host a food drive, said Altman.

    “”There are departments and areas of campus that are having food drives all year round, so we decided to go with that and use UA 4 Food as the umbrella and include all the different events on our Web site,”” Altman said. “”It gives the university more flexibility and gives different areas of campus the opportunity to be part of UA 4 Food.””

    In addition to several big events that are part of UA 4 Food, Altman said, “”there are at least four or five little drives”” on campus, including food drives organized by the UA Library, Student Union, the Pharmacology department and nutrition students.

    “”The main focus is on child hunger and nutrition programs because there is such a direct link between childhood nutrition and success at school,”” Altman said. When students get enough to eat “”they just perk up – we want them to be Wildcats,”” she said.

    All of the money donated to UA 4 Food goes to childhood hunger programs, while the food may go to a variety of places depending on the Community Food Bank’s need, Altman said. “”Right now their main need is emergency food boxes,”” she said.

    “”This fall with (the) difficult economic climate the food bank is really hurting right now and can’t keep up with the demand, which has gone up about 50 percent,”” Altman said.

    Jack Parris, public relations manager of the Community Food Bank, said, “”The UA 4 Food is one of our larger donations that we get.””

    “”We get around 22,000 to 24,000 pounds of food per year from all of those combined drives, plus $22,000 in cash,”” he said.

    “”This is the one food drive that faculty, staff and students all come together and raise food for community food bank – it’s pretty unique,”” Parris said.

    Student organizations interested in participating in Friday’s event can call the Marshall Foundation by Dec. 3, but space is limited to 50 groups, according to a UA News press release.

    Anyone interested in donating cash can do it directly on the UA 4 Food Web site, http://ua4food.arizona.edu, which also has contact information for the Community Food Bank and any events accepting food donations, Altman said.

    – Chris Carter contributed to this story.

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