Adopt-A-Family food drive kicks off to help families this holiday season
Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
The university’s annual Adopt-A-Family food drive kicked off Nov. 6, continuing its long-lasting tradition of supporting the initiative.
Departments, clubs and organizations can make a difference this holiday season by donating nonperishable food items that will be distributed to families through Family Centered Services of Connecticut and Fair Haven School in New Haven.
On a newer note, donations will also go towards the Milford Food Pantry, benefitting students on campus.
“We haven’t previously worked with the food pantry, so it’s kind of nice to incorporate southern a little bit more in it,” said Rachel Noto, graduate intern at the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development who is coordinating the initiative this year.
The university’s Alumni Association collaborates with the Milford food pantry to provide students with meals via the mobile food pantry that visits the campus twice a month.
Noto is hoping that the partnership will provide more of an incentive for students and faculty to participate.
The food drive is right on time for Social Justice week where one of the issues that will be addressed is hunger.
“It goes hand in hand with the week everyone’s been planning so hard for,” said Noto.
Since the economic downturn in 2008, hunger has been a growing problem in the Connecticut due to the high cost of living.
According to the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven (CFGNH), “nearly half (44 percent) of state residents who go hungry are ineligible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, the main government anti-hunger program, commonly known as food stamps. That is because they have incomes above the maximum threshold of 185 percent above the federal poverty level ($44,122 for a family of four).”
This year more participation on an individual basis is being encouraged, according to Noto, by incorporating reusable tote bags in addition to collection boxes.
Knowing that you as an individual could make a difference,” said Noto, “that was kind of like our way of leaving our mark this year.”
The blue bags have “Owls Care,” in writing to add a personal touch. Also to be included in the bag is a checklist of possible food items to fill your bag with.
Collection boxes and totes can be signed out at the Office of Student Involvement on the 2nd floor of the Adanti Student center, as well as the student affairs office in Englman. Boxes and totes should be filed no later than Nov. 20, 9:00 a.m.
Suggested food items to include in boxes are: canned goods –like meats, fish, beans, vegetables, peanut butter, baby food, sauces, fruit and fruit juices—as well as dried food—such as instant potatoes, dried beans, gravy, rice, cereal, and polenta.
Individuals who return with a filled tote bag will receive a ticket to Connecticut Hall’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon.
“It’s kind of our way of saying thank you for giving back to the community and have lunch on us,” said Noto.
Every year residence life plays a big part in the initiative through setting up a competition between residence halls and providing prizes for the halls who collect the most nonperishable food and toiletries.
“They’re really great with helping us out—the hall directors are awesome with promoting the food drive and they usually have at least one box for residents to fill,” said Noto. “They’re really good at getting the word out and supporting us.”
Photo Credit: Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
HEADER PHOTO: Rachel Noto, graduate intern at the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development