Apr 18, 2019

Have a heart

If going without a cup of coffee in the morning or an extra bean burrito at lunch meant that you could give a dollar to feed an entire family for a day, would you do it? If so, the Community Food Bank needs your help.

Once again, Professional Communication Association (PCA) is holding the “Have a Heart” food bank drive next Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 17-19, to gather money and food in hopes of helping the Community Food Bank restock their shelves.

Evan Halstead, president of PCA, said that with tough times like these the food banks are more depleted than ever.

“This fundraiser is a push to fill the food banks back up,” Halstead said. “With the economy like it is–in the dumps–the middle-class people who gave to the banks are now taking.”

Halstead also said that due to the great demand in aid, some food banks have run out of food and had to close their doors during the holidays.

Value meals

PCA originated a few years ago in the communication department and its goal was to do philanthropic work. One of the department’s professors in regular contact with the food bank realized the need and wanted to get involved.

With every dollar donated, eight dollars in buying power is generated. Last year the group raised $1,200, which afforded the food bank $10,000 to purchase food for needy families. This year the group hopes to raise at least $2,000, which would give them buying power worth $16,000. For every 50 cents donated, a family of four has a meal for a night.

Sara Vasquez, the director of development at the Community Food Bank, said that they have seen the need in the Central Valley double since this time last year.

“Last year our food distribution was right around 500,000 pounds each month,” Vasquez said. “This year we are at 1 million pounds per month.”

The food bank services about 70,000 people each week and has a partnership with 200 agencies. Some organizations involved are Poverello House, Catholic Charities and Community Food Pantries.

Christmas cheer all year

Vasquez said that there was help from the community during the holidays but just because the season of giving is over, the need hasn’t lessened.

“The thing we saw around the holidays was that the community really stepped up to the plate,” Vasquez said. “With the help of the community, 7,000 meal boxes were served during the holidays, but to continue to meet the rising demand, we are asking for the donations to continue.”

Vasquez also said that the food bank can do a lot more with a dollar than someone could do at a grocery store.

“For every one dollar we receive in donation, we can buy eight dollars in food because we can purchase in bulk quality for a very low price,” Vasquez said. “One dollar can buy you one can of food in the store but we can do a lot more with it.”

Ashley Llanes, 21, a recreation and leisure major, said she was shocked at how much one dollar can do and will be donating to the cause next week.

“I know these hard times have hurt everyone,” Llanes said. “Of course I would be more than willing to skip my coffee or bring my lunch to school in order to give money. I hope the fundraiser goes well.”

The Professional Communication Association will have large hot pink posters decorated with hearts in the Free Speech area and will be accepting donations of food and money Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Acceptable food donations

Canned: fruits, vegetables, soup and meats
Shelf stable meals: beans, peanut butter, cereal, Macaroni & Cheese, rice, juice, and pasta

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