October 22, 2009 — The University of Virginia is sponsoring its annual food drive to support the Charlottesville Branch of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network.
The drive, which will run through Nov. 19, is a partnership of the U.Va. Bookstore, Development and Public Affairs, Facilities Management, Dining, Alumni Association, Madison House and Health Sciences Library.
"Annually, the University receives more than 1,500 pounds of food and close to $1,000 in cash donations," Jim Fitzgerald, associate director of community relations, said. "Our goal is to eclipse these numbers to help meet the growing need in our area."
Ruth Jones, director of communications for the food bank, said the past year has been particularly rough on families in the Charlottesville area.
"Unemployment has driven many people through our doors who never thought they would ask for food assistance," she said. "The face of hunger looks very different today. It could be anyone – your co-worker, a classmate, even your neighbor."
U.Va. collection bins are placed at the Bookstore above the Central Grounds Parking Garage, Courts & Commerce at the Law School, The Crossroads at O-Hill Dining Hall, Lambeth Convenience Store, the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, 400 Ray C. Hunt Drive at Fontaine Research Park, Facilities Management offices, Alumni Hall and Madison House.
Cash donations can be made at the Bookstore, Courts & Commerce, the Darden Exchange and TJ's Locker at the Aquatic & Fitness Center.
The Charlottesville food bank serves the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock. In Charlottesville, it is serving up to 30,000 people each month and will provide more than 1.3 million meals to people in need this year. That's 300,000 more meals than last year, according to Jones.
In addition, nearly 6,000 children are served in the Charlottesville area each month. The Charlottesville Branch is a division of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network, which serves about one-third of Virginia, covering 25 counties and nine cities.
"This food drive is vital to our organization, as we are serving more people than we have ever served in the history of our organization. We deeply appreciate what each U.Va. group is doing to alleviate hunger in the community," Jones said. "Without their support, we could not fulfill our mission."
Organizers particularly hope to collect:
pastas and rice
canned fruits or fruit cups
apple, grape or pineapple juice boxes
strawberry or grape jelly
pork and beans
soups such as chicken noodle, vegetable and tomato
chili with beans
For information, contact Patrick Perkins at 434-924-1496 or firstname.lastname@example.org.