The Gephardt Institute partnered with Operation Food Search to lead the 6th annual PB&Joy University-Wide Food Drive this spring, collecting 21,546 pounds of food (that’s over 10 tons!) and $11,782.80 to support Operation Food Search’s mission to the heal the hurt of hunger.
Students, faculty, and staff from the Danforth Campus and the Medical Campus were actively engaged in creative campaigns to educate the WashU community about the alarming rate of childhood hunger in our region, and provide a meaningful way to respond.
Judy Coyman, director of community relations at Operation Food Search, said “The kid-friendly food donations were distributed to agencies hosting summer programs for kids and teens. These donations left our warehouse in early May, ready to go immediately at the end of the school year.”
In addition to collecting kid-friendly food for Operation Food Search programs focused on child hunger, the money raised by the program goes a long way as well in helping the organization expand their reach.
According to Coyman, “We used the monetary donations to help fuel our summer meals programs, featuring mobile meals – a first for our area and for Missouri. Our mobile meal routes targeted neighborhoods where under-resourced kids and teens live and hang out. It was incredibly successful. We will easily surpass our goal of 100,000 summer meals this year.”
In addition to the core benefit of helping to ease hunger for children in our region, the Gephardt Institute hopes to inspire all members of the WashU community to take action and learn more about childhood hunger and poverty in our community.
To date, the program has collected over 80 tons of food and $57,000, which can feed 75,756 people for one day. Opportunities to get involved in next year’s PB&Joy initiative will be shared in early 2017.