By NICOLE BETHUNE
The University of Mary Washington community collected 3,007 lbs. of food for those in Fredericksburg who needed assistance last fall, according to Rose Benedict, the primary coordinator of UMW’s Helping Hands food drive.
Though this number is lower than 2011’s by 148 lbs. Benedict said she was “generally pleased with this year’s results,” but that they “would always like to have more donations.”
UMW athletes collected most of the donated food and accumulated 2,675 lbs. of the 3,007 lbs. of food, according to Benedict. This means that athletes collected about 89 percent of the total food donated. The men’s baseball team alone collected 561 lbs. of food. According to Benedict, this is typical, as UMW athletes “have been responsible for the bulk of our donations every year…usually collecting over 2,000 lbs.”
The food drive reached its highest donation total in 2006, collecting 4,845 lbs. of food, but has since dropped to 3,292 lbs. in 2010 and 3,155 lbs. in 2011.
To remedy this, the University is asking for feedback from students on the Student Board of Directors about the challenges of getting information to all students in the residence halls and it hopes to create some effective strategies for next year.
One of these strategies includes advertising for the drive as early as the previous spring.
Benedict also said that another goal for next year’s food drive is to gain participation from the local community by advertising through radio and signs.
The food donated by the athletic teams goes to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, while all other donations go to the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Food Pantry. These organizations then “distribute food directly to our area residents,” according to Benedict.