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April 17, 1997

Pitt Scouts for Food drive runs to April 28

Three years ago, the Pitt Scouts for Food drive was bringing in 8,000 to 9,000 units of food annually. Two years ago, thanks largely to the coordinating efforts of Karen Valauri, director of Student Activities for the College of General Studies, the drive brought in 50,000 units.

Last year, the Pitt Volunteer Pool took over coordination of the drive and pushed the total up to over 70,000 units.

"This year it is a cooperative effort of the Pitt Volunteer Pool and Student Volunteer Outreach and we believe a very achievable goal for us is 100,000 units of food," said Steve Zupcic, Pitt Scouts for Food '97 coordinator.

The Pitt Scouts for Food Drive began on April 14 and will continue through April 28. Donations can be dropped off at 300 locations in departments around campus, as well as in bins located in the lobbies of large buildings.

Zupcic believes the goal of 100,000 units of food is achievable this year because the drive is better organized and better publicized than in the past.

In addition, the student campaign during Greek Week collected 48,000 units of food, which means the drive already is almost halfway to its goal.

"That more than doubled what they did last year, which was 22,000 units," said Zupcic of the student drive. "So, we've already set the pattern with the Greeks." One of the best things about the Pitt Scouts for Food drive, Zupcic noted, is that 100 percent of the contributions go to people in need. All of the overhead expenses, such as posters, bags and boxes, are donated by businesses in the Pittsburgh area.

"The easy thing to do is look at what is in your food cupboard that you don't expect to use soon and just bring that in," said Zupcic of donating. "Somebody is going to like it." Food placed at collection locations around campus is picked up regularly by Phil Hopbell and his crew in Receiving and Transportation. They then count the food and immediately transport it to the Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank in McKeesport for distribution.

Last year, the Pittsburgh Scouting for Food Drive collected $3.7 million worth of food. Of that total, local postal workers far out stripped all other groups by collecting almost one million units of food.

Pitt was among the top 10 institutions for donations. Its 70,000 units of food were worth about $54,000, Zupcic said.

Although Pittsburgh's total was by far the largest in the country, according to Zupcic, it was only enough to keep the food bank in operation for a month.

-Mike Sajna

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