Student group picks food fight with UA

ASU for Food aims to combat hunger by helping local food

Published On:
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
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ASU students are starting a food fight with the goal of fighting hunger.

Starting this week, ASU for Food, a new student organization, is setting out to combat hunger and raise awareness through donations and collaboration with local food drives.

Religious studies sophomore Mary Beth Hutchinson, founder of ASU for Food, said the group will play a part in the global movement to eradicate hunger.

“Our mission is to be a force on campus for the fighting of hunger,” Hutchinson said. “What we’re generally going to try to do is organize food drives and be an educational force on campus.”

The biggest event planned this year is the ASU-UA Food Fight. Up until the basketball game between ASU and UA, organizations from both schools will compete to collect the most food to donate to local charities.

Hutchinson said she hopes the event will bring people together to become actively involved in the fight against hunger.

“Ideally the more people we get involved, the more impact we can have,” she said.

According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, 15 percent of Arizona families reported their children skipped meals because there was not enough money for food. Of Arizonans living in poverty, 41 percent had to choose between buying food and paying for utilities within the last year.

“Because of the economic downturn a lot of people are hurting,” Hutchinson said. “They find themselves in a position that many people think they would never find themselves in.”

Donna Rogers, director of resource development at Mesa’s United Food Bank, said area food banks are suffering because of increased costs and demand.

“We’re trying to help more people with less resources,” Rogers said. “We’re having more demand simply because people can’t make their dollars stretch as far as they could.”

Rogers said most organizations that contributed in the past continue to do so, but the increased cost of food limits donations.

“While the people are still there, the dollars just don’t go as far,” she said.

Hutchinson said ASU for Food will also provide a way for students to volunteer with local food drives.

“People being hungry touches on so many issues,” she said.

Hunger involves health and poverty issues that affect how children develop and perform in school, Hutchinson said.

“We would hope that we could be at least one part of a larger picture to alleviate that,” she said. “We’re new and we’re flexible, so we’re looking for people who want to make a difference.”

Local food banks request donations that are high in protein like peanut butter, tuna and beans. They also request foods that last over time like pasta, rice and canned beans.

Reach the reporter at adam.sneed@asu.edu.