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October 23, 2000

Campus gears up for Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive

By Jennifer McNulty

Second Harvest Food Bank logo
Last year, UCSC contributions to the Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive jumped 900 percent over 1998, but that hasn't stopped organizers of this year's drive from raising the bar still higher.

"UCSC staff, faculty, and students contributed more than 11 tons of food, which was an overwhelming display of generosity," said Sheila K. Gottehrer, campus ombudsman and cochair of the UCSC Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive. "Our campus goal this year is 15 tons. We can do it if we get out the word."

During the week of November 13, all faculty and staff on campus will receive a memo from Academic Senate Chair Roger Anderson and Staff Advisory Board Chair Janelle Taylor encouraging them to participate. Accompanying the memo will be an empty Second Harvest grocery bag for food donations and a preaddressed envelope for monetary contributions to the agency, she said. Campus Mail Services employees will collect bags from mail stops November 15-December 8 during their normal scheduled route.

"There will also be a drop-off spot in the parking lot at the main entrance to campus," said Gottehrer. "We're trying to make it as easy as possible to contribute, which is why we're emphasizing this year the option of writing a check or filling a bag."

For those who prefer to make monetary contributions, Gottehrer noted that for every dollar that is donated, Second Harvest can distribute more than $10 worth of food. Monetary contributions will be hand-delivered directly to a Second Harvest representative on December 8. (For food-drive award purposes, for every dollar donated, the food bank credits UCSC with donating three pounds worth of food.)

The holiday food drive is part of the annual "Fill the Bus" campaign organized by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. The goal is to collect enough food to fill a bus. Second Harvest is a nonprofit organization that provides food and basic necessities to low-income seniors, people with AIDS, homeless people, single parents, abused women and children, crime and disaster victims, disabled people, and individuals and families facing crisis situations in their lives. It supports approximately 100 human service agencies and programs that serve more than 36,000 people every month. Nearly half are children.

Last year, UCSC contributed 5,544 pounds of food and $5,769 in donations, equivalent to 17,307 pounds, for a total of 22,851 pounds, said Gottehrer. For its efforts, the campus earned Second Harvest's "Platinum Can Award," for being one of the largest contributors last year. UCSC also received the "Big Step" award for the biggest increase in donations from one year to the next. In 1998, UCSC collected 2,534 pounds.

Students on campus are encouraged to donate money and food, and they may also participate in other activities, such as giving up a meal and donating the money to Second Harvest, said Gottherer. "Several student organizations, including sororities and fraternities, are getting really involved this year," she said.

Gottehrer singled out for special praise the Mail Services staff who make the food drive possible, and those whose contributions helped put the following mail stops on campus at the top of last year's list of generous donors: Biology, Chemistry, Physical Plant, Humanities Division, Psychology, Registrar's Office, Staff Human Resources, Social Sciences Division, and Computer Engineering.

"Everyone really puts their heart into this food drive, which is the product of an incredible amount of volunteer energy," said Gottehrer. "Second Harvest makes such a difference for community members, and it is wonderful to see so many people on campus participating."

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