By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH
Sodexo is mixing things up with their annual “Stop Hunger” food drive this year with the inclusion of a residence hall competition. The drive, beginning Friday, Nov. 6 and lasting until Friday, Nov. 13, aims to raise 25,000 pounds of food that will go to the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank.
In addition to placing collection bins in all dining locations and the bookstore as they had in previous years, a new incentive is being added to generate interest among the student body. Radio station 99.3 “The Vibe”, will host a party for the residence hall complex that brings in the most pounds of food per person in the complex. In turn, Campus Dining is hoping to spur increased donations from Residence Halls, which have decreased in recent years, according to Heather Hosey, marketing assistant for Campus Dining.
UMW Athletics will also be doing something new for this year’s drive. Typically, various UMW athletic teams have competed against each other to raise the most food. This year, however, the department and its teams have decided to unite their efforts, and hope their combined work will beat CNU’s winning streak and allow UMW athletes to focus on the mission of the drive: to feed the Fredericksburg community.
“Why spend time in competition – besides our student-athletes get enough of that – when we could refocus the lens to our purpose and make our efforts more about helping others in need,” Pierce said.
The department has been involved in the past, but this year all of the sports teams have decided to unite their efforts. UMW Athletics have partnered with Campus Dining in the annual Sodexo food drives for the past ten years. Additionally, UMW athletes, along with nine other member schools in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) have participated in the CAC Canned Food Challenge every November.
According to Philip Pearce, director of Athletic Development and Promotions, UMW won this challenge every year until 2013 when Christopher Newport University entered the competition and took first place in both 2013 and 2014.
UMW Athletic Department, which includes student athletes and members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is determined to make CNU’s 2014 victory its last, hence their motto for this year’s competition: “Can CNU.”
Each sport team has taken shifts standing outside of Giant in Eagle Village and will later host a collection station in Ball Circle with a Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank truck for the duration of the drive to collect donations.
Though some changes have been made to this year’s event, the goal remains the same: to help struggling families in the community have the food they need, according to Hosey.
This is Hosey’s second year coordinating the annual food drive, an event which allows for the UMW community to come together and make an impact in the community. “I just want students to know that we’re all a family here in Fredericksburg,” Hosey said. “This drive is going to feed the community, which is part of our family.” By whatever means students can take part in the event, Hosey encourages students to get involved.
“Everything counts, whether it’s a small donation or a large one,” Hosey said. In order to make the leap from nearly 5,000 to 25,000 pounds of food, Campus Dining has gotten the support of the area YMCA, LifePoint Church, Fredericksburg Baptist Church, Food Lion, Giant Food, Radio 99.3 “The Vibe” and several area schools and community organizations.
The UMW Staff Advisory Council, who had been doing their own canned food drive throughout the semester, will be contributing their “One Can Hope” food donations to the drive as well.