Purdue students support local food bank, help carriers retain trophy

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University students living on campus donated 3,984 pounds of food to give a boost to mail carriers in Tippecanoe County during the 16th annual National Association of Letter Carriers food drive.

In its first year of participating, Purdue University Residences pushed the local total up to 74,000 pounds, two tons more than last year. That increase helped the local carriers defeat Monroe County carriers, assisted by Indiana University students, by several thousand pounds. Tippecanoe County carriers retain the small wooden bucket that goes to the winner of each year’s friendly competition, a prize similar to the Old Oaken Bucket given annually to the winner of the Purdue-Indiana football game.

University Residences’ students contributed 3,984 pounds, which goes to Food Finders Food Bank in Lafayette, Ind. The food bank’s resource director said she is “completely thrilled” by the generosity of Purdue students.

“We are so pleased that Purdue residence halls chose to participate,” said Kim Motuliak. “The staff and students were so cooperative and wonderful to work with.”

Fifteen residence halls collected food in barrels placed at each hall’s front desk prior to students going home for the summer. Motuliak said many students donated food that likely would have been thrown away.

“But it was obvious that some of the students even went out and purchased food specifically for this campaign,” she said. “That was very sweet of them.”

Purdue University Residences was invited to participate by Food Finders Food Bank volunteer Jennifer Barth, a freshman from Houston, who lives in Purdue’s Shreve Hall. Barth, who volunteered at food banks throughout high school, continued to serve as Food Finders Food Bank’s liaison with Purdue housing officials throughout the campaign.

“Young people can make a big difference in their community,” Barth said. “I’m glad I was able to help my fellow students make an immediate impact for those in need.”

The food bank will distribute items to food pantries, homeless shelters, senior centers and other such facilities in a 16-county region that stretches between the perimeter of the Indianapolis and Chicago metropolitan areas. Allyson Hodge, Purdue University Residences director of community relations, said she is proud of Barth’s accomplishment.

“It’s exactly that kind of leadership we work to instill in our nearly 12,000 residents through an array of charitable activities throughout the school year,” Hodge said. “Through projects like ‘Battle of the Barrels,’ our residents get to learn one of the most important lessons of college: how to become a better global citizen.”

Purdue University, particularly Housing and Food Services, contributes regularly to the food bank. Since December, Food Stores University Residences alone have contributed more than 15 tons.

Food Finders Food Bank is already planning to partner with University Residences residents again next year for the letter carriers’ food drive.

“Their first-year contribution of nearly 4,000 pounds has already proven incredibly valuable,” Motuliak said. “As students become more accustomed to participating, I expect their contributions to grow by leaps and bounds.”

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 August 2019
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