The Big Fresno Fair and Fresno State once again will be teaming up to combat hunger as the fifth annual “Feed the Need” food drive to help benefit the Fresno State Student Cupboard (FSSC) will take place outside Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 25 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Community members who participate in the event and donate 10 or more cans of food will receive one Big Fresno Fair admission ticket, good for admittance on any day during the 2019 fair run, according to a university news release.
The FSSC started as an initiative by the Fresno State Food Security Project in order to provide free food and hygiene items to Fresno State students in need. Since its inception in November 2014, the FSSC has helped more than 15,374 students across the campus and has amassed more than 204,000 total visits during that time.
Donors will have the opportunity to be greeted by Fresno State first lady Mary Castro, multiple Fresno State coaches and Fresno State athletes who will be randomly giving away 2019 football game tickets to donors throughout the day.
Along with Athletics, Maya Cinemas Fresno 16 will be handing out popcorn coupons while supplies last. Multiple radio stations will also be broadcasting live from the Fresno State Red Lot throughout the day including New Rock 104.1, 940 ESPN, 95.7 The Fox and 99.3 Now FM.
The livelihood of the FSSC hinges on the support of the community, as many of the food and hygiene items donated come from community organizations or are purchased at discounted prices through strategic partnerships with donor funding.
“Community support for basic needs greatly helps our students achieve their academic goals…nearly 44 percent of our students struggle with food insecurity, and it is a high priority of ours to reduce it,” Dr. Frank Lamas, Fresno State vice president for the division of student affairs and enrollment management, said in the release. “Food insecurity is not something that is limited to our campus. Throughout California, campuses are working together to address this crisis and empower student success.”
During the academic year, the FSSC averages 4,600 student visitors, and 563 student applications were submitted to the CalFresh program.
The Collegian reported in 2018, last year’s “Feed the Need” gave away nearly 4,000 fair tickets with the help of 200 volunteers, including student athletes and community members, who gathered food and money donations.
John C. Alkire, CEO of the Big Fresno Fair, hopes that this year’s “Feed the Need” event will once again have the support of the community and provide Fresno State students with the basic needs to succeed.
“Last year, with the amazing support of our community, we collected 67,000 pounds of food at our food drive at Fresno State – this went directly to serve students and help them with a basic need,” Alkire said. “We want our community to rally around Fresno State and this drive by showing up in big numbers to top our collection totals from last year.”
The Fresno Fair runs from Oct. 2-14. The donation of 10 or more unexpired cans is limited to four Fair admission tickets per car while supplies last. Those who are unable to make the food drive and donate in person can still support Fresno State students by donating funds online.