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The Blue & Gray Press | October 19, 2017

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Dining Services Aims for Record-Breaking Charity

Courtesy of Rose Benedict

Courtesy of Rose Benedict

On Thursday, both UMW students and members of the community will work toward breaking a Guinness World Record and helping the Fredericksburg area as they participate in the national Helping Hands Across America food campaign.

UMW is one of many college campuses across the nation that will be participating in the effort to collect more than 400,000 pounds of food in one day.  Sodexo, the parent company of UMW dining services, will sponsor the campaign.

“Last year UMW collected 3,366 pounds of food. We’re hoping to collect over 5,000 pounds this year,” Rose Benedict, marketing specialist for UMW dining services, said.

Although tallied as part of the national drive, the food collected at UMW will remain in the community, filling the shelves of the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, which serves over 7,000 people in the area.  Once the food bank is filled, the remaining food will be donated to the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Food Pantry, according to Benedict.

“Everyone who donates food will be entered in a drawing,” Benedict said. Drawing winners will receive prizes donated by area businesses.

In order to meet their goal, UMW Dining Services encouraged student organizations to collect food ahead of time and then donate it on Thursday. Any food collected before Thursday by any organization affiliated with Sodexo would not be counted toward the record breaking goal of 400,000 pounds.

“We [dining services] can’t begin collecting before [Thursday], but other people such as clubs, sports teams and residence halls can collect food ahead of time and donate it [on Thursday],” Benedict said.

All this week, canned food has been for sale at the Nest for students to purchase.

As an incentive for student organizations to collect non-perishable items, UMW Dining Services offered a pizza party as a reward for the sports team, student club or residence hall that collected and donated the most food.

“This year we currently have about 15 student groups and dorms participating in beforehand collections,” Benedict said.

In order for the collection to be counted toward Sodexo’s Guinness World Record for the largest 24-hour food drive in multiple locations by a non-charitable organization, two witnesses must be present at the weigh-in site every hour. These witnesses will weigh the food as it is dropped off as well as make sure food items are not past their expiration dates. Food donated past its expiration date cannot be counted, according to Benedict.

Any student wishing to donate food can do so between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday at Seacobeck. In order to better accommodate community members wishing to participate in the event, a special curb-side drop off site has been set up on College Avenue between Seacobeck and Rowe Streets, near the FRED bus stop.

Local radio station B101.5 will be on campus throughout the day sending out public service reminders as well as broadcasting the progress of the event.

“We’re hoping to make the drive a bigger deal in the future,” Benedict said. “We want to make students more familiar with the drive.”