Last year’s Holy Cross Harvest, a charitable project of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross colleges, raised $15,383 and more than 2,100 pounds of food for local food pantries. This year the focus is on raising money, but food will still be collected at a few locations around campus.
Anne Kolaczyk, senior technical training professional with OIT’s academic and administrative services, spearheads the drive. Focusing on collecting money rather than food makes a lot of sense, she says. “Each dollar donated can buy $8 to $10 worth of food.”
Why is the Holy Cross Harvest held in January and February?
Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular times for donations to food pantries, but after Christmas, donations fall off. Hunger is a year-round issue, notes Kolaczyk.
Says Marijo Martinec, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana’s director of community impact, “More than 18 percent of the people in Northern Indiana are food insecure—they do not have food or access to nutritious food.” Forty-four percent of those receiving food assistance are younger than 17.
This year, donations will be split between the Food Bank of Northern Indiana’s Fun Packs Program and People Gotta Eat.
The Food Bank’s Fun Packs Program sends food home with needy children each week. Formerly known as the Backpack Program, the emergency food assistance program serves grade-school-age children (K-6) at schools identified as having a high number of children eligible for free lunch programs.
The program helps improve the physical, mental and overall school performance of chronically hungry children by providing immediate, confidential and direct assistance. Every Friday through the school year, food-insecure children receive nutritious, kid-friendly food for times—on weekends and holidays—when they are not in school. The cost of food and delivery is approximately $3.50 per week per child, but the program is free for eligible children and their families. Your donation of $140 can sponsor a child for one academic year.
People Gotta Eat (PGE) is a group of 17 local food pantries that have combined under the United Way of St. Joseph County to pool resources for awareness and fundraising.
This year, funds donated to PGE will be doubled in value through a United Way matching grant. All donations of nonperishable food will go directly to PGE. Donation bins will be available in several locations around campus.
If you’d like to help by donating online, visit holycrossharvest.nd.edu (you’ll need to choose between the two agencies) or you can write a check and give it to your department representative. For more information or to schedule a donation pickup, contact Anne Kolaczyk, 631-8679 or firstname.lastname@example.org.