Through Thursday, Nov. 12, Western Washington University Dining Services invites all students, faculty, staff and alumni at WWU to take part in a nationwide event called Helping Hands Across America, with the primary goal of providing as much non-perishable food as possible to local food banks. This effort is in conjunction with the Sodexo Foundation and the STOP Hunger initiative, which has a national objective of setting the Guinness World Record on Nov. 12 for The Largest Food Drive by a Non-Charitable Organization in a 24-hour Period in Multiple Locations.
University Dining Services is sponsoring collection of non-perishable food items through Nov. 12 at the following Western Washington University locations: all three Dining Commons (Fairhaven, Ridgeway and Viking), The Atrium and Viking Union Market. Food items must be within their expiration dates and must not be in any condition that affects their suitability for consumption. Each collection location has empty shopping bags available for donors to take, fill up with non-perishable foods and return.
"Our goal is to collect at least 500 pounds of food," said Lisa Philbrook, director of business development for WWU's University Dining Services. "We need help from the WWU campus community. I hope everyone who is able to will drop off a donation of non-perishable canned goods. We'll deliver the donated food items to Bellingham Food Bank after November 12th."
The Bellingham Food Bank currently serves more than 8,000 visitors per month, giving out monthly roughly 190,000 pounds of food. According to Patrick Egan, volunteer coordinator at the Bellingham Food Bank, 15 percent of Bellingham residents use the food bank at least once a year. More than 50 percent of food bank clients are children or senior citizens. Additionally, 60 percent of food bank users reported that they skip or cut the size of a meal at least once each week because they can't afford to purchase enough food.
Helping Hands Across America combines a nationwide Stop Hunger initiative with a rewarding experience for college students across the country. In November 2008, this national effort of Sodexo and colleges across the country collected nearly 370,000 pounds of food. This was double the prior year.
Since 1999, the Sodexo Foundation has been committed to being a driving and creative force that contributes to a hunger-free nation. From nutrition programs for children to job training for adults, the foundation supports hunger-related initiatives on the local, state and national levels. Visit http://us.stop-hunger.org/home.html for more information.
To find out more information about the local event happening on WWU’s campus, please please contact Lisa Philbrook at (360) 650-7543.