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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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UMD Organizes Virtual Food Drive to Provide Hurricane Relief and Local Food Access

September 28, 2017
Contacts: 

Ceylon Mitchell, 301-852-3042

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland Office of Community Engagement and the University of Maryland Alumni Association will partner with Food Recovery Network (FRN), Amp Your Good, and the #GiveHealthy Movement to help alleviate food insecurity in Prince George’s County and provide food supplies to areas devastated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. 

From Sept. 27 to Oct. 28, 2017, UMD faculty, staff and students, as well as the local community, will participate in a virtual food drive aimed at providing over 5,000 pounds of fresh produce to those in need. Modeled by the #GiveHealthy Movement, the virtual food drive provides an alternative to traditional in-person food drives that are limited to non-perishable donations. The drive allows individuals to select items from a curated list of healthy foods created by various hunger organizations. These items are purchased online and delivered directly to organizations once the drive is complete.

“The type of non-perishable food items typically collected during a traditional food drive are sometimes highly processed, nutrient deficient food,” said CEO Pat O'Neill, of Amp Your Good, a co-founding partner of #GiveHealthy. “Offering our communities a virtual food drive ensures that those who struggle with hunger will get the healthy food they really need.”

The UMD virtual food drive will function similarly to #GiveHealthy. Half of the donated food will support Hurricane relief and the other half will benefit the Christian Life Center in Riverdale Park, Maryland. At the recommendation of FRN, a UMD-founded and student-driven nonprofit fighting food waste and hunger, Hungry Harvest will provide fresh produce to the Christian Life Center. 

“According to national research, an estimated 129,000 individuals in Prince George's County face food insecurity," said Regina Northouse, FRN executive director. "These individuals are not sure where their next meal is coming from or if it will happen at all." 

“We recognize the need for communities to unite in response to health inequity and tragic disaster. This food drive provides such an opportunity,” added Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, Office of Community Engagement director.

The food drive will conclude on Oct. 28, during UMD’s homecoming game against Indiana University. The community can also make in-person food donations from 12:30-3:30 p.m. at Riggs Alumni Center. Virtual food drive donations can be made by visiting go.umd.edu/Virtual-Food-Drive.