22nd annual CMU food drive comes to a close

Last Monday marked the end of Carnegie Mellon University’s 22nd annual Food Drive, an event that aims to help eliminate hunger in the Pittsburgh community.

For the past two weeks, students and faculty members were prompted to donate their time, money, canned goods, and non-perishable foods to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. In an email to the Tartan, staff councilwoman and university Gift Officer Carole Panno remarked on the tremendous success of this year’s drive.

“While we won’t have final totals until next week, the drive will — once again — be one of our most successful ever, if not THE most successful ever” Panno wrote.

Having played an integral role in the annual food drive, joining only two years after its inception, Panno has witnessed first-hand the evolving success of Carnegie Mellon’s efforts towards putting an end to hunger in the Pittsburgh area. Since the food drive’s inception in 1993, more than $32,000 has been raised to fight this cause. This year alone, the fundraising website Crowdrise shows that the goal of raising $2,000 was surpassed, and is currently approaching $3,000.

While the monetary donations made to the food drive have been rapidly increasing, it is the sight of the interactive events put together by the Staff Council that really motivates the Carnegie Mellon community to get involved in such a life-altering cause.

Snack Bag for Kids gathered together Staff Council representatives and other Carnegie staff members to package portable snack bags, which were donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, specifically designated towards starving children in need of something to eat.

“Our Snack Bags for Kids event — only in its second official year — nearly doubled the number of bags assembled for the Food Bank” Panno said, who additionally wanted to mention the Carnegie Mellon chapter of Alpha Phi Omega for doing a Snack Bags project. One Day, One Can was held on Nov. 4, an event focused on collecting non-perishable, canned donations.

The final event, Cans Across the Cut, was a more fun, competition style event where groups across campus competed to see who could gather the most cans and non-perishables. This “provided a nice visual of the impact of our efforts” said Panno, who also noted that the Civil Engineering Department was the reigning victor at the event yet again.
Overall, these efforts raised over 127,000 (more than 63 tons) of non-perishable foods. While the drive may be over, it is still possible to donate to this cause through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

With the success of the Stop Hunger Now’s meal packaging lineup earlier this month, it is evident that the efforts towards decreasing hunger across the world have been rallying in size. “It really ‘takes a village’ — as they say — and all academic and administrative units come together to support this initiative. The support of our community is astounding!” Panno wrote. The increased manpower that gets put into projects such as these provides greater hope in fulfilling their mission of eradicating hunger in our communities.
During this time of year, with Thanksgiving fast approaching, efforts such as Carnegie Mellon’s food drive are extremely vital. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the drive, many mouths will now be fed, and that is something to be thankful for.