Packing the Cat Tran and paying off parking tickets: Campus steps up for spring food drives

Packing the Cat Tran and paying off parking tickets: Campus steps up for spring food drives

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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Volunteers load food onto a Cat Tran during the UA4Food, which benefits the Campus Pantry and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Volunteers load food onto a Cat Tran during the UA4Food, which benefits the Campus Pantry and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
During its fall Donations for Citations campaign, Parking & Transportation Services collected 148 boxes of cereal and 124 cartons of nonrefrigerated milk.
During its fall Donations for Citations campaign, Parking & Transportation Services collected 148 boxes of cereal and 124 cartons of nonrefrigerated milk.

More than 6,000 pounds of food were collected, and more than 300 parking citations were cleared, thanks to two food drives this spring. UA4Food, the annual campus community food drive, and Donations for Citations, a Parking & Transportation Services program allowing people to pay off parking tickets with food donations, have helped stock shelves on and off campus.

Nick Hilton, assistant director in the Office of Government and Community Relations, said donors contributed 5,054 pounds of food during this year's UA4Food campaign, with 2,690 pounds going to the Campus Pantry and 2,364 going to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. In addition, the campaign raised $1,610 in monetary donations, including $560 for the Campus Pantry and $1,050 for the food bank.

"Our campus community has come together once again to step up when it matters most," Hilton said. "I'm consistently impressed by the generosity of our friends and colleagues who helped revive this important annual tradition."

Hilton said this year marks the highest food donation total his office has in its records, which go back to 2015. It easily tops the 3,129 1/2 pounds collected in 2019, the last year of the drive before the pandemic.

Employees could leave food at several donation boxes located across campus. Employees working mostly or entirely from home were invited to donate money online.

The campaign, which began March 14, wrapped up on April 13 with the return of the popular Stuff the Cat Tran event, during which employees made drive-up donations and volunteers stuffed more than 1,000 pounds of food into a 40-foot-long Cat Tran parked near Cherry Avenue and the Mall. 

Since 2004, UA4Food campaigns have collected more than 216,000 pounds of food and more than $367,000 in monetary donations.

Paying off parking tickets with PB&J

Parking & Transportation Services ran its spring Donations for Citations campaign from March 14-25, offering the opportunity to pay off eligible citations by donating food to the Campus Pantry. Participants could pay off $50-$60 citations with one jar each of peanut butter and jelly, or $85-$95 citations with two jars each. A total of 353 people participated, bringing in 457 jars of peanut butter and 435 jars of jelly, which amounted to 1,632 pounds. Those donations offset $21,970 in citation fees.

"We are very happy to be able to partner with the Campus Pantry again to raise awareness about food insecurity and provide much-needed food supplies through our Donation for Citations campaign," said Jim Sayre, executive director of Parking & Transportation Services. "Our mission is to help make everyone on campus successful and we hope our contribution will help our Wildcats do just that."

Donations for Citations began in 2018 and happens twice each academic year. It was put on hold during the 2020-21 academic year due to the pandemic. The campaign returned for the fall semester, running October 18-29, 2021, and collected 148 boxes of cereal and 124 cartons of nonrefrigerated milk in exchange for $6,455 in citation fees.

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