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Collection benefits food bank

Keelin McGee | Monday, January 30, 2012

In a joint effort to help feed the hungry this winter, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross launched the second annual Holy Cross Harvest Food Drive Jan. 23, which runs until mid-February.

The Holy Cross Harvest collects nonperishable food items and monetary donations to benefit the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. Notre Dame is the most active institution of the drive, with donations being taken in 25 food collection barrels and multiple change jars at retail locations around campus.

Anne Kolaczyk, Notre Dame chairman of the Holy Cross Harvest and a senior technical training professional with the Office of Information Technology (OIT), said about 50 building and departmental representatives are running the drive on campus.

“The representatives are the ones that are planning events, challenging people to donate and collecting the money and watching the barrels,” she said.

Kolaczyk said the events planned by the different departments have been the best way to raise awareness and donations for the drive.

“The OIT held a chili cook-off where volunteers made chili and the rest of the staff donated money to eat,” she said. “Many offices are also having ‘Jeans Days’ where people pay for the privilege to wear jeans to work.”

Students are also making a strong effort to take part in the drive this year.

Junior Ellen Carroll, chair of student government’s Social Concerns Committee, said last year’s drive did not see much student involvement, but she hopes participation this year will increase.

“We do not have a specific set of goals we want to reach,” she said. “Our goal is more to show that the students are involved and do care about providing food for those who can’t provide for themselves rather than reaching a specific number.”

Carroll said efforts are being taken by student government to target student involvement.

“Student volunteers will be working a table at the home hockey games on Feb. 3, 4 and 10, as a part of Lefty Fest, to accept goods and talk with people to spread awareness,” she said. “We are hoping to also set up a table in LaFortune where students can make donations and we are also encouraging students to use their extra flex points to buy food.”

The increased awareness on campus of the Holy Cross Harvest appears to have already had an immense impact. Last year, the food drive successfully collected 6,600 pounds of food and almost $2,700. Kolaczyk said the drive has already surpassed last year’s cash numbers within the first week.

“We will not measure the food donations until the very end,” she said. “But, so far, in monetary donations, we have raised just over $3,900.”

Two more weeks remain to make donations and Carroll said even a small donation can make a big difference.

“A dollar can be used to provide eight meals,” she said. “We have to remember how fortunate we are and that there are people, streets away from us, who don’t have a dining hall to go to and anything we do will be greatly appreciated by them.”

A full list of food collection barrel locations, events and building/department representatives can be found at Holy Cross Harvest’s website: http://holycrossharvest.nd.edu