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Students organize canned food drive

Emma Driscoll | Monday, April 28, 2008

Students collected canned food items from members of the South Bend community to be donated to The Food Bank of Northern Indiana in Saturday’s Earth Week Canned Food Drive.

“We basically go around and collect food from a bunch of neighborhoods in South Bend,” co-coordinator Katie Day said.

Day said South Bend residents were informed about the Canned Food Drive by fliers passed out by student volunteers throughout the week.

To kick off the Canned Food Drive, Lead ND brought kids they have mentored from the South Bend community to the event.

The day was concluded by a blessing from University President Emiterius Father Ted Hesburgh.

“Most student activities are for the benefit of the students … but of all the things that get done around here, this stands out each year as something very typical of Notre Dame because you’re doing it for the poor,” Hesburgh said.

Last year, the Canned Food Drive collected 14,000 pounds of food, but Day said she expected less this year because not as many neighborhoods would be covered.

Totals are not yet available for this year’s Canned Food Drive because the Food Bank weighs the collections itself, Day said. She estimated that there “might have been 6 or 7,000 pounds of food, but that’s not definite.”

The collections will be coming at a good time for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

“Basically, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana has a difficult time meeting the demand for food right now because a lot of collecting takes place in the winter months,” Day said.

The Canned Food Drive also calls attention to current events.

“It is especially important this year because of the food and security issues going on worldwide are also effecting what’s going on here,” Day said.

The Canned Food Drive was one of several Earth Week events.

“We’ve had a really busy week, even more so than last year. We really expanded [Earth Week],” Students for Environmental Action [SEA] co-president Tracy Jennings said.

The week kicked off April 19 with a tree-planting event in the Northwest Neighborhood before the Blue-Gold game, Jennings said. There was also game day recycling at the game, she said.

On Monday, coffee and discussion of environmental topics took place in O’Shaugnessy Hall, Jennings said.

One of the larger events of the week was the Earth Day Festival held on Tuesday on Fieldhouse Mall. Representatives from the Farmers’ Market and Elkhart Environmental Core attended to speak with students and WVFI brought music to the event.

“A lot of people stopped by on their way to class and it was a big success,” Jennings said.

SEA teamed up with ND for Animals to hold a vegetarian no-waste dinner Wednesday, Jennings said.

“No utensils were provided. You had to bring your own plate, spoon and fork so you didn’t waste anything,” Jennings said.

Thursday night was the Nature Film Festival, which featured films treating environmental topics.

Notre Dame power plant tours were offered Friday, and Sunday the SEA partnered with Best Buddies for a picnic and to share information about recycling and composting with the buddies.

“It was a great week for fellowship and for education and for having a good time,” Jennings said.