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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA Day of Caring involves more than 350 volunteers

    Carmen Lyon, a staff member of the UA financial services office, paints a signpost at the United Ways Day of Caring at the Punch Woods Multi-Service Center Saturday afternoon. UA staff, students and other volunteers helped with projects to improve the facilities at the Community Food Bank during the event.
    Carmen Lyon, a staff member of the UA financial services office, paints a signpost at the United Way’s Day of Caring at the Punch Woods Multi-Service Center Saturday afternoon. UA staff, students and other volunteers helped with projects to improve the facilities at the Community Food Bank during the event.

    More than 350 students, staff and faculty volunteered at the Community Food Bank for UA’s annual Day of Caring Saturday.

    Volunteers from various campus clubs and departments dedicated their afternoon to a few of the 40 projects geared toward the Food Bank facilities’ improvement.

    More than 400 agencies in the Tucson community, including Lowe’s Home Improvement, Home Depot, United Way and the Dean of Students Office, donated thousands of products like paint, lumber and food for this year’s Day of Caring projects, said Glory Novak, co-chair of the project.

    The university teams up with a local group for the Day of Caring to help the community. Last year, 600 volunteers worked on neighborhood improvement projects with Habitat for Humanity.

    Kristen Hershberger, the volunteer coordinator for the UA Day of Caring, said 2006 marks the 30th anniversary of the Community Food Bank, and a gala will be held Sunday with an open house and tours of the facility.

    Hershberger said the food bank is excited for the significant improvement of its facilities.

    “”We are always working on smaller projects at the food bank, but because of the combination of the numbers of volunteers, skills and donations, this project can go on a much larger scale,”” Hershberger said.

    The food bank distributes enough food to prepare more than 33,000 meals a day, adding up to 14 million pounds of food a year, said Holly Altman, co-chair of the UA Day of Caring.

    These projects ranged from digging power lines between the nearby greenhouse and freshly painted storage sheds to painting birdhouses.

    “”I already got my blister for the day,”” said Gabriel Pingitore, an electrical engineering freshman, after removing a gardening glove from his battered thumb.

    Another major project focus included building an arch trellis intended for climbing vines, gourds, cucumbers and beans.

    Amanda Morse, the Community Garden foods coordinator for the Community Food Bank, said the garden helps the nearby farmers markets and provides tools to help teach gardening classes.

    Almost every project incorporated some form of artwork, which the School of Art designed.

    Art professor Jackson Boelts said Day of Caring coordinators asked his class to help design murals and signs throughout the break room.

    Boelts said his 19 students split into five groups and competed against one another to design the best art for the food bank.

    The winning group members then became individual group leaders of the actual projects on Saturday, Boelts said.

    Art included a design at the food bank entrance and break room, murals on the mini mobiles and walls of the food bank, signs and sculptures for the garden areas, Boelts said.

    Students who volunteered said they had a variety of motivations for giving their time to improve the food bank facilities.

    “”I thought I would be canning food all day, but this is a great place to meet people you would never meet otherwise,”” said Rachel Cohen, a psychology sophomore, as she took a break from sanding and staining the benches around the food bank garden.

    Carmen Lyon, a UA alumna, volunteered at a wood-working station, sealing wood for benches and signs.

    “”I thought that by volunteering here I would get the whole Tucson experience, and I got to use a nail gun the size of my body,”” Lyon said.

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