U Keeps Food Bank Tradition Alive


Kiffer Creveling

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)
(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

For the last 21 years, the Alumni Association has partnered with the MUSS to put on their annual Food Drive in November.
The food drive delivers food to Utah families through monetary and food donations.
John Fackler, the director for the Food Drive, said although it is a charity event, the Food Drive started as more of a rivalry against BYU.
“For the first few years that we did the Food Drive, it was a competition against the U’s rivals,” Fackler said. “It was tremendously successful, and we raised a lot of food and money across the state.”
As of 2011, BYU no longer competes against the U in the Food Drive, and Fackler said the effects are apparent.
“We used the rivalry during its hay-day to help people,” Fackler said. “And even though BYU is still not competing, we still want to feed as many people as we can, and without the rivalry angle, we’ve gone through more contacts and student groups.”
Kelton Ekblad, a junior in political science and economics, said he thinks the Food Drive is a good way to “give back” but also be involved with the U.
“It’s a great tradition for our school to be a part of,” Ekblad said. “It’s important to give back, and most kids who have reached the university level have had to go through a hardship, so it is nice to have the chance to turn that around.”
The donations from the food drive go to the Utah Food Bank.
“The Utah Food Bank can turn $1 into eight pounds of food through a couple of ways,” Fackler said. “Suppliers may have a truckload [of food donations] brought to the Food Bank … but the monetary donations go towards buying things like produce and dairy products.”
The Alumni Association’s goal for this year’s food drive had “three key aspects,” Fackler said.
“Our goal this year is to raise as much money and food for the Utah Food Bank and to get more of the campus and alumni involved,” he said.
The Food Drive has branched out past the alumni association this year and has teamed up with other organizations, Fackler said.
“A lot of other student groups have participated,” he said. “ASUU, First Year Council, UPC. We’re so thankful because despite the obstacles, people have worked hard and have made it successful.”
For some students, donating to food drives is part of other elements of school, Ekblad said.
“As a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, we have a food bin,” he said. “The U and the fraternity recognize the time of year as a harder time to provide for children and family, so it’s so crucial to be donating and giving back if you can.”
Over the past five years the Food Drive has donated about 1,800,000 pounds of food, which is equivalent to about $400,000, according to the U’s website. Ekblad thinks this is not only a huge benefit to the families receiving the food, but it also makes the U stand out.
“It’s really unique to have a school be so dedicated to the charity,” he said. “Twenty-one years is a long time, and it’s something all Utes should be proud of.”
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