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Food drive fights local hunger

by James Ehle - jehle@h-ponline.com

Huntington University has collected 3,842 pounds of food for Community Harvest Food Bank’s record-breaking 2019 U Can Crush Hunger campaign.

U Can Crush Hunger history was made this year as six local colleges and universities raised a record-breaking 57,263 pounds of food. The collective efforts of Huntington University, Indiana Tech, Ivy Tech, Manchester University, Purdue University Fort Wayne, and University of Saint Francis pushed totals beyond the 50,000 pound goal in the final week of the campaign.

“It’s a way to get Huntington University invovled in our community and to provide some assistance with a need in our community especially at this time of the year,” said Dr. Norris Friesen, director of volunteer service and outreach ministry at Huntington University. “I think it’s a win-win both for the community and for the University and I’m glad we could participate in it.

The final weigh-in standings from the intercollegiate campagin are as follows:

n 1st Place: University of St. Francis 20,529 pounds

n 2nd Place: Manchester University with 17,773 pounds

n 3rd Place: Indiana Tech with 11,652,pounds

n 4th Place: Huntington University with 3,842 pounds

n 5th Place: Purdue Fort Wayne with 3,098 pounds

n 6th Place: Ivy Tech with 370 pounds

“It’s important for students to understand that our campus is an extension of our community,” Friesen said in a news release from the university. “That is, one in seven people in northeast Indiana are food insecure. We can have an impact in our immediate community by helping meet the needs of our neighbors.”

The purpose of the intercollegiate competition is to collect food to be distributed to the over 84,000 people in northeast Indiana who are food insecure. Huntington University’s collected food will go directly to Love INC. Last year, Huntington University collected 3,536 pounds of food for Love INC and came in fourth place in the competition; combined, the area colleges collected 40,704 pounds in 2018. HU’s Friesen Center asked students, faculty, staff and friends to donate cans or dollars for the cause.

“A lot of it had to do with the residence halls,” Friesen said. “The campus ministries coordinators facilitated a lot of the activity in getting kids to either contribute money or purchase cans.”

Through an annual student activity event known as Olympiad hosted by the university’s Student Activities Board students participated in an event called “Can-Struction” where teams competed to build a structure out of canned foods. The teams collected their own cans, which were all donated to the food drive. A pre-season men’s basketball scrimmage also colletected cans instead of charging admission to aid in the food drive campaign.

“We also tried to encourage donations this year,” Friesen said. “One dollar equals four pounds of foods, so if a person gave 10 dollars that equated to 40 pounds of food.”

Friesen says that although Community Harvest Food Bank is centered in Fort Wayne, all of the university’s efforts will be redirected back into the Huntington community.

“This is under the umbrella of the Community Harvest Food Bank in Fort Wayne, but Love INC is a partner with Community Harvest so the food and the money that we collected will go to Love INC,” Friesen said. “We were actually able to help a local charity which I think is really significant for us as well.”

Established in 1983, Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc. feeds 21,100 people every week. Last year, CHFB distributed 13.8 million pounds of food to nearly 85,000 unique individuals.