Columbia begins food drive on campus

By Ivana Hester

Columbia is joining the fight against hunger by holding two food drives for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

The Building Owners and Managers Association of the Chicago Food Drive, which the college is participating in for the first time, started Nov. 19 and will run through Dec. 14. Columbia’s radio station, WCRX-FM, will host the second drive, the 10th annual Holly Jolly Trolley Food Drive, on Dec. 6.

The BOMA Food Drive collection barrels can be found in the South Campus Building, 624 S. Michigan Ave., and the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building, according to Joanne Harding, operations coordinator for Building Services and

Facilities & Operations.

According to WCRX Station Supervisor, Matthew Cunningham, local celebrities, politicians and performers come out for the station’s daylong event every year. One returning guest is Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who donates food and money to the cause.

Cunningham said the Radio Department is passionate about events like these because of the message it sends to students.

“It’s an opportunity for students who are on air here to give back,” Cunningham said. “It is a part of our job in the Radio Department to show the responsibility of broadcast as a way that our students can come together for the good of

our community.”

Jim Conwell, communications manager for the GCFD, said the drives are part of a larger campaign called “One City, One Food Drive,” which strives to bring all GCFD food drives together to collect the equivalent of 1 million meals. The organization will then distribute the donations to its network of 650 pantries, food kitchens and shelters, he said.

The number of visits to food pantries nationwide has increased 85 percent during the last five years, according to Conwell, and the GCFD had a record number of visitors from July to September. He added that last year more than half of the food depository’s donations were received during the

holiday season.

“In Cook County right now, one [out of] six people do not know where their next meal will come from,” Conwell said. “It’s a year-round issue, but the holiday season is a really important time for people to get involved and give to a

food drive.”

Edward Bury, BOMA’s director of marketing and communications, said this is the fourth year the association has held its drive. He said Columbia was invited to join because each year BOMA aims to increase the number of participating buildings and the amount of food donated.

Bury said BOMA donated approximately 35,000 pounds of food last year, which the association hopes to top by collecting six barrels of food from each of the 150 participating buildings.

Bury said having a food drive on campus benefits students because it teaches them to help the less fortunate, even with a small contribution like a food donation. He added that students could also volunteer.

“I think [making a contribution] is a great life lesson that everyone could learn,” he said. “This is just one example of how we do it around the holiday season.”

For more information on how you can donate or volunteer outside of the college, visit ChicagoFoodBank.org.

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