Holy Cross Harvest Food Drive tops 52,000 meals!

Author: Carol C. Bradley

Food Bank barrels

“With members of our community struggling for the basic food necessities, we have the responsibility to respond. Let’s take this opportunity to share our blessings with those in need.” President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

The Holy Cross Harvest food drive, benefiting the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, starts today and runs through Tuesday, Feb. 14. Food collection barrels have been distributed to buildings on campus, and donation canisters are available at Cafe de Grasta, Starbucks, Reckers and the bookstore cafe. Please donate generously to help those in need in our community. For more information or to donate online, visit the Holy Cross Harvest website.

Hunger is a year-round issue
By Judith Hizer

Last year’s Holy Cross Harvest, through the efforts of participants at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College, garnered more than 6,600 pounds of food and nearly $2,700 for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

While the food collected last year might sound like a lot, the Food Bank distributes 111,278 pounds of food per week through its member agencies, or more than 22,000 pounds (17,120 meals) daily.

The Holy Cross Harvest food drive is a combined project of Notre Dame, Saint Maryís College and Holy Cross College. This year, Ivy Tech, Bethel and Indiana University South Bend will also be contributing to the effort with drives of their own.

Anne Kolaczyk, a technical training professional with OIT’s academic and administrative services, who is spearheading Notre Dameís efforts this year, hopes the partnerships will compound last year’s success. The combined drives have also drawn the support of two local businesses. The South Bend Tribune and its sister company, WSBT-TV, will add to the efforts through the Neighbors in Need program.

While last year’s drive saw Saint Maryís focusing on raising cash and Notre Dame focusing on collecting nonperishable food, some Notre Dame contributors wanted to give cash as well.

That made a lot of sense to Kolaczyk, who says that the Food Bankís buying power means each dollar donated can buy $8 to $10 worth of food. So this year, in addition to collecting food, Notre Dame will collect cash donations through a network of volunteers throughout campus and at nd.edu/~harvest/.

There has also been a change in the date of the Universityís food drive to January and February. ìBy concentrating on a non-popular time, weíre filling a need,î notes Kolaczyk.

During the holiday season, people hear stories about hunger and the Food Bank receives significant donations, says Marijo Martinec, director of community impact at the Food Bank. ìAfter the Christmas holiday, donations taper off, and in January and February we have to ask our friends in the media, ëCan you help us?íî

The need in the community is great, and hunger is a year-round issue. The Food Bankís 185 member agencies have seen a 50 percent increase in the number of people served in 2011, compared to 2010.

To meet needs beyond the Christmas season, each partner will concentrate efforts at different times, with donation drives stretching from December to March.

Says Martinec, ìMore than 18 percent of the people in Northern Indiana are food insecureóthey do not have food or access to nutritious food. Weíre trying to get the message out that hunger is a community health issue. When children donít have access to
food, it affects them, affects their ability in school.î

It also affects working adults, she adds, people who may have trouble focusing on their work when they havenít had enough to eat. ìThere are still people in our communities who are struggling, who have been out of work for a couple of years or maybe now working but are under-employed. They just canít make ends meet.î

To find out if your building has a representative for the food drive, for general questions or to find out how and where to make a donation, email HolyCrossHarvest@nd.edu.