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June 28, 2007

Food drive sets Pitt record

Pitt has collected its highest-ever total of 307,984 units of food to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, an increase of nearly 33,000 units over last year’s effort.

Donated food is calculated not by the number of items, but in “units” loosely based on an item’s nutritional value, to encourage donors to give items that will do the most good. The University’s efforts placed Pitt No. 5 among corporate participants in the spring food drive that has yielded 5.3 million units of food for the Duquesne-based food bank.

That figure also was a record, up from last year’s 5 million units, said food bank spokeswoman Iris Valanti. Topping the corporate donor list was UPMC Health Plan, which collected 1.5 million units.

At Pitt, in addition to 66,000 units of food collected in donation boxes, this year’s total included meal points donated by students and leftover hot food donated by Sodexho directly to shelters, said Steve Zupcic of Community Relations. In addition, the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of Community Relations issued a challenge that doubled the amount of non-perishable food items donated in this year’s collection. That challenge added the equivalent of more than a trailer truckload of food to the University’s efforts, Zupcic said.

For more than a decade, the University has ranked among the 10 most successful local employers in the annual food drives. Over the years, Pitt contributions have totaled more than 1 million units.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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