A dollar can go a long way

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Photo illustration by Juan Villa
The Collegian

For the cost of a morning cup of coffee, an entire meal can be provided for a family in need.

A donation of one dollar given to the Community Food Bank of Fresno would buy eight dollars worth of food. The food bank buys and collects food and distributes it to people in need around the Valley. Purchasing food in large quantities allows them to attain the cheapest price on most food items.

From Feb. 4 through Feb. 14, the communications department will be collecting cash donations and non-perishable foods to give to the food bank. This food drive is known as “Have a Heart.” There will be various locations to donate around campus, including the Speech Arts building, the University Student Union and the McKee Fisk building. Students can drop their donations in containers at those locations or in some classrooms.

Barbara Aston is a part-time instructor in the communications department and the creator of this fundraiser. She has donated and delivered food to the food bank before. During one visit, she asked them how they were doing and they told her that they were low after helping people during the Southern California wildfires and the holidays. After hearing of their plight, Aston decided to do something about it.

“I knew that there was a need. I thought that there must be something I could do. I knew that there was nothing to lose. Anything we can get would be useful. They are grateful for anything they get,” Aston said.

After her plans were approved by the communications department, she then contacted Chris Fiorentino, the director of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning, and talked about it with him. With his help, the flyer she created for the event, was e-mailed all over campus.

“It’s Barbara’s baby. We love it. We need more people on campus to step up and take a leadership role and support these kinds of events,” Fiorentino said.

Fiorentino believes that any amount that is donated, no matter how small, would still be welcomed and would have a positive effect.

“If one can of food is donated and it is given to someone who needs it, then it is a success,” Florentino said. “Ultimately that food will make a difference in somebody’s life.”

He thinks that the donations will benefit anyone in need, not just the unemployed or the homeless.

“There are a lot of people in this community who don’t have enough money to buy food. The perception is that the people who need this food are only the homeless and people who don’t have jobs, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

Students will also be involved with the event by helping to pick up donations as, well as encouraging students to contribute.

“I think it’s a great cause. I will definitely have a box in my classroom and encourage students to donate and do their part,” said graduate student Guy Wade.

Aston hopes that this February event will be a regular fundraiser and that it will continue to grow over time.

“The generosity of the students and the faculty will make this happen. Hopefully we’ll be shocked and we’ll get a lot of donations,” Aston said.

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