Five area colleges and universities are launching what is called a friendly competition to see how much food they can raise for area food banks between now and Halloween.
The goal is to raise 100,000 pounds of food as part of a contest called U Can Crush Hunger."
The five schools -- IPFW, Huntington University, Indiana Tech, IVY Tech and the University of Saint Francis -- have a total of about 29,000 students. The goal is to collect canned food, especially canned fruits, vegetables, peanut butter and canned tuna and meats. Cash donations are also being accepted from students and faculty.
Vicky Carwein, IPFW's chancellor, said while students are being encouraged to donate canned food, faculty and staff are being encouraged to donate $5 each, enough to buy 15 pounds of food.
Vince Haupert, vice president for advancement at Huntington University, said the food drive aligns with the school's mission. He noted that students, who will be off until Wednesday, might be home raiding their parents' pantries. He added that all students in the fall take part in an Olympiad, which involves many kinds of activities, and the food drive will become one of the activities.
Indiana Tech said the drive fulfills one of the school's social responsibilities, and it has planned various events to promote it, including an auction for premium parking spots and accepting canned food as admission to some sports events.
IVY Tech holds food drives every year, said Chancellor Jerrilee Mosier, so the competition between schools is just an additional incentive for students to take part.
Saint Francis, said Sister Anna Holzmer, an assistant vice president at the school, has been feeding the poor for eight years. This year it will have additional competitions among various organizations in the school and a euchre and dodgeball tournament to raise money.
Community Harvest Food Bank officials said that every dollar donated can buy up to three pounds of food. Food raised by Huntington University will stay at Huntington County and go to Love INC. The food other schools accumulate will go to Community Harvest, which serves nine counties.