By Monica Warren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Most UA students sail through days filled with classes, clubs and friends, often stopping in the student union or on University Boulevard for a bite to eat, but for thousands of men, women and children around Tucson, that bite to eat can be hard to come by.
According to the 2000 Census, more than 129,000 people in Pima County, including more than 39,000 children, live below the poverty level, many of them suffering the effects of hunger on a daily basis.
Through April, students and staff have a chance to help by participating in the campuswide UA4Food Drive.
The UA4Food Drive is the first collaborative effort of its kind on campus, said Holly Altman, outreach coordinator in the Office of Community Relations.
The goal of the food drive is to raise $1 and two cans of food for every one of the 14,592 seats in McKale Center, Altman said.
"A lot of us don't realize what a problem (hunger) is and what the impact is on children and families," Altman said. "The need is so great."
The food drive comprises a variety of efforts and events to give a broad spectrum of students and staff the chance to contribute, Altman said.
Tonight, the 2005 Hunger Banquet will give students the opportunity to learn more about issues related to hunger.
The University Activities Board's Project Volunteer committee, the Residence Hall Association, Residence Life's El Mundo diversity initiatives and Circle K International organized the banquet.
The UA4Food faculty and staff food drive also wraps up this week. More than 50 ambassadors from across campus have been collecting food and monetary donations since March 14, Altman said.
Merchants along University Boulevard will also participate in the food drive. According to the Main Gate Square Web site, there will be food collection sites at the Fat Greek, Penguin's Frozen Yogurt, Landmark Clothing and Arizona Wildwear.
The food drive will end during Spring Fling, April 7 to 10, Altman said.
A planning committee made up of students, staff and area merchants have been working to organize the food drive since September, Altman said.
"So many different groups were able to work together to address a community need," Altman said.
The items most requested by the food drive are canned goods, such as vegetables, fruits, soup and peanut butter, Altman said. She said the Community Food Bank requested that dried items, such as cereal and noodles, not be donated because their shelf life is shorter and because they attract mice in the warehouse, she said.
Joy Tucker, Community Food Bank interim executive director, said a campuswide food drive is important because it helps make students better citizens and allows them to become more aware of issues related to hunger.
Information about drop-off locations and online giving can be found at the UA4Food Web site, www.ua4food.arizona.edu.