The Red and White Hunger Fight’s three-week-long campuswide food drive and fundraising efforts ended Thursday with the collection of barrels of donated food.
Despite decreased student organization involvement, the drive was still deemed a success.
The Red and White Hunger Fight is a collaborative effort between multiple campus organizations and the Community Action Coalition to collect food and monetary donations.
This year’s food drive donations will be delivered to the sponsor of the event, Community Action Coalition, a non-profit organization in Madison serving 67 food pantries, meal sites and homeless shelters in Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha counties at no cost, said Chris Brockel, food and gardens division manager at CAC.
The Red and White Hunger Fight celebrates its second year as the first and largest collaborative food drive effort on campus, an effort started by Michele Dalton, University of Wisconsin junior and starting goalkeeper of the women’s soccer team.
After organizing a food drive in high school, Dalton was surprised to see a lack of large, collaborative food drives at UW. Through proper planning, organization and help from Anne Whisner of UW’s Morgridge Center for Public Service, Dalton’s idea became a reality.
Last year’s Red and White Hunger Fight collected eight tons of food and involved 70 organizations and 150 volunteers, Dalton said.
Unfortunately, this year’s food drive has seen a decrease in student organization involvement as well as food donations, Dalton said. However, she noted that off-campus communities continue to be willing to donate.
“I’m overwhelmed with the amount of food the Madison community has donated,” she said.
Thursday’s collection of food barrels will be followed by the “Big Day” Nov. 10 at Ogg Hall in which volunteers sort food into boxes to be distributed by the CAC.
Last year, student volunteers sorted eight tons of food in 45 minutes, Dalton said.
As part of The Red and White Hunger Fight, student organizations have participated in collecting food donations from communities neighboring the campus area. This weekend the women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball teams will continue this effort, Dalton said.
As one of the organizations involved in the planning of the food drive, Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group’s Hunger and Homelessness Campaign helped coordinate the community outreach efforts, as well as contributed to fundraising.
The group’s involvement in the food drive focused largely on fundraising, where it believed it could make the larger impact, Mariana Berbert, coordinator of WISPIRG’s Hunger and Homelessness Campaign said.
Much of the funds raised will contribute to the CAC’s Thanksgiving turkey basket distribution. This year, CAC will provide 3,500 Thanksgiving baskets to families in need, Brockel said.
As one of their largest food drives of the year, The Red and White Hunger Fight is a great way to kick off the holiday season, Brockel said. With a 25 percent increase in household use of food pantries in Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha counties, the need for food has greatly increased, he said.