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Big Fresno Fair CEO, John Alkire helps Fresno State Baseball players, Bo McClintock and Nick Warren unload canned food from a car at the “Feed the Need” food drive on Sept. 25, 2017. The canned food drive raised donations for the Fresno State Student Cupboard. (Daniel Avalos/ The Collegian)

Fresno State community comes together to ‘Feed the Need’

The “Feed the Need” food drive at Fresno State on Monday raised nearly double the amount of food for the Student Cupboard than in 2016.

The third annual food drive, hosted by The Big Fresno Fair brought nearly 35,000 pounds of food donations according to a tweet by the Student Cupboard.

The goal this year was 40,000 pounds. As of Tuesday, the unofficial amount donated remained at 35,000 pounds. And the count was continuing said Lucca Petrucci from The Big Fresno Fair Communications team.

Last year, the Student Cupboard raised more than 18,000 pounds of food. It shared the donations with its partners, The Community Food Bank and The Poverello House.

This is the first year that the Student Cupboard will receive all of the donations.

Students and community members were asked to donate canned food and nonperishable food items. If 10 or more items were donated, the donor received a free ticket to The Big Fresno Fair as an incentive.

Nearly 30 percent of students at the university experience food insecurity, said Jessica Medina, coordinator of the Food Security project at Fresno State.

The Student Cupboard offers free food and hygiene products for all current Fresno State students. Students are able to come in once per day to receive one of each item.

“With the Student Cupboard, we are able to support our students with some of their basic needs so they can be successful in their academics,” Medina said.

As a truck overflowing with canned and dried goods pulled into the Red Lot during the donation drive, Mary Castro, wife of Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro said, “My heart is about to burst.”

“Our students need to know that the community believes in them so much that they are willing to take time out of their day to come and do something like this,” she said.

Community member Lisa Quinones stepped out of a truck with a big smile as students helped unload the truck bed full of donations. This is her second year donating a truck-full of food to the drive, she said.

“I keep you guys in mind through the years,” Quinones said. “That’s why I kind of hold on to them [cans].”

Quinones said she donates because Fresno State is her community. Born and raised in Fresno, she said she loves to support the community, students and local food banks.

And donating goods is something she looks forward to during the holiday season.

Quinones said she to gives back because she has gone through hardships in her life, and the community has provided for her.

Castro said it’s examples like Quinones’ that explain the need for the Student Cupboard.

“That’s how our Student Cupboard happens,” Castro said. “It’s by people seeing they can have a part in helping our students be successful.”

She added, “It can be one bag. It could be a truckload. It’s everybody owning it and pulling it together.”

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“Feed the Need” food drive