The shelves at Memorial’s Campus Food Bank on the St. John’s campus are now re-stocked, thanks to the generosity demonstrated by students, staff and faculty members during the seventh annual summer food drive.
And just in time, too. Longtime food bank volunteer Noel Veitch says food supplies had dwindled away to practically nothing.
"We've seen a 24 per cent increase in traffic here at the food bank this year," said Mr. Veitch. "We've had 3,500 people come through the doors. If it weren't for the Christmas in July food drive, we would still have empty shelves."
Thankfully, the 12 Days of Giving Drive was a success, with a total of 24 different departments participating and more than 4,000 food items collected for the food bank, located in the Corte Real building on the east end of campus across from Burton's Pond. However, the food bank team does say there were 12 fewer teams participating this year compared to 2011.
From June 12-23, a variety of items such as juice boxes, tins of chicken noodle soup and tins of kernel corn were collected according to the 12 Days of Christmas theme, where each department earned points for certain items. Bonus points were awarded for collecting the requested amount per day.
While all donations are welcome, the Campus Food Bank asks for specific items -- such as cooking oil, which turns out to be patrons' most requested item -- because those are the items that people need the most. As well, items such as pasta and flour are requested because they can be used to stretch out over more meals.
One of the goals of the fundraiser is to collect non-perishable food items during the summer season when giving may not be on the forefront of people’s minds. Regardless of the size of an office or department, prizes are awarded for collecting the most points in total as well as the most points per capita, so everyone has an opportunity to win.
For 2012, the Department of Biochemistry came in on top for total points again this year, claiming first place for most items donated. Facilities Management came in second, with Faculty Relations in third place. The Faculty of Education took fourth place spot for total points and the Queen Elizabeth II Library took fifth place.
Meanwhile, Faculty Relations earned highest per capita points based on participant numbers in their office. The Math Learning Centre came in second place, the Information Access and Privacy Protection Office, the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Health and Safety placed third for shared giving, the Department of Geography came in fourth and Alumni Affairs and Development took the fifth spot.
The winners for both categories will be rewarded for their win with a snack break compliments of the Campus Food Bank at the end of summer when most people will be in the office to enjoy it. Congratulations to all!