Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Annual all-campus food drive aims to help serve thousands of local families

The time draws near once again to raid pantries, cupboards and places where non-perishable items may hide to help families and individuals in need. Whitman’s annual all-campus food drive, which donates all proceeds to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank, is planned to take place next week from Monday, Feb. 8, until Tuesday, Feb. 12. The event was established roughly two decades ago by the Community Service Center in collaboration with with the Community Service House and Whitman’s fraternities and women’s fraternities.

Food collection boxes will remain at spots around campus throughout the week. Last year, the food drive collected roughly 600 pounds of food items for individuals and families in need.

Lina Menard, community service coordinator, highlights the importance of hosting the event in February.

“February is the month when food bank stores are the lowest. Farms donate during the summer and during fall and winter, contributions are made due to the holidays,” said Menard.

Menard also commented on the influence of the current economic downturn on past and upcoming food drives.

“The last two years have been tricky, but we are still hopeful,” she said. “I encourage students, when going to grocery stores, to pick up a little something extra for those in need.”

The most needed foods are protein items such as peanut butter and tuna, quick meals such as macaroni and cheese or pre-prepared meals, baby food and canned vegetables.

“[We] could use pinto beans, lentils, split peas and any other dry goods like that,” said Gail McGhee of the Blue Mountain Action Council, a warehouse for local Walla Walla food banks.

The food, once collected by the Blue Mountain Action Council, is distributed to food pantries such as the Helpline Food Pantry, First Presbyterian Food Pantry, the Salvation Army Food Pantry and others. Individuals can enroll in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to receive food vouchers that allow them to pick up food from the pantry each month.

McGhee also discussed the number of Walla Walla residents who rely on donations to local food pantries.

“Currently the local pantries are serving approximately 700 or more families each month. In 2009 they saw 9,312 families which had 25,967 individuals in them . . . We also take food to Clarkston, Pomeroy and Dayton.”

Whitman students can volunteer with this project in a variety of ways.

“The Community Service Office is looking for student groups and students to get involved,” said Menard. “Students can help with collection or promoting the program.”

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