'Food For Families' Comes to Baylor

Nov. 18, 1999

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Hundreds of Baylor students, faculty and staff spent Friday, Nov. 19, collecting non-perishable food items as Baylor participated for the first time in Food for Families, the largest one-day food drive in Texas.

As of 5 p.m., the site had collected more than 100,000 pounds of food, which will benefit Caritas, Waco's major food bank.

KWTX-TV Channel 10, the Waco television station that initiated the food drive in November 1990, broadcasted live from the Baylor site from sunrise to sunset. In addition to Baylor, other partners this year included H.E.B., the Heart 'O Texas Council Boy Scouts of America and Texas Army National Guard, with special thanks to Dr Pepper.

Melissa Prihoda, Baylor's community service coordinator in the student activities office, said the more than 500 Baylor volunteers included students from service organizations, sororities, fraternities and honor societies, student-athletes and coaches, and Baylor faculty and staff members.

"I'm glad to see Baylor involved in such a worthwhile event as Food for Families," Prihoda said. "Baylor has such a tradition of service, with the history of events like Steppin' Out and Santa's Workshop. Our students and staff are really eager and they come to Baylor expecting to volunteer and be a part of community service so it's really easy to get people to want to participate."

Designed to stock the shelves of area food banks and pantries beyond the holiday season, Food for Families has grown to become the largest one-day food drive in Texas, encompassing 8 counties with 16 televised sites in Central Texas. In 1990, the drive netted more than 84,000 pounds of food items. Last year, Food for Families gathered more than 300 tons of food, with McLennan County collecting 209,000 pounds. All food collected in the drive remains in each county for distribution.

Josh Larson, morning news anchor for KWTX-TV, spent the early morning hours of the food drive broadcasting live from the Baylor site.

"I've seen everyone from all kinds of campus groups, all working together towards one cause," Larson said.

"It's been great getting organizations and students involved in the service aspect of life," said Liggitt, who works with Prihoda in the community service office. "This helps Baylor's image in the community, and Waco likes to see Baylor doing things like this."

Student volunteers, such as Dallas graduate student Jeffrey Liggitt and Heidi Bender, a freshman from Shreveport, La., spent the day unloading boxes and bags of food items from cars, vans and even Texas Army National Guard trucks loaded with thousands of pounds of food.

"We've stayed pretty busy, unloading and sorting the food," Bender said. "I heard about it through student government and I just thought I'd get involved with this. It's been great."

Pam Crawford, assistant to Baylor vice president for finance and administration Harold Cunningham, was one of the staff members who took advantage of today's volunteer opportunity.

"This just extends the mission of Baylor to Waco, and this is a great way for faculty and staff to get involved," she said.

For those who brought their donations to the Baylor site, they could not help but notice the more than 100 Baylor student-athletes who volunteered their time for Food for Families. Dee Ann Bell, who coordinates the athletic department's B.U.I.L.D. (Bears United in Life Development) program, made the Food for Families drive her group's major November volunteer effort.

Baylor baseball assistant coach Mitchell Johnson volunteered right along with his players.

"We're out here trying to help a little bit and give a little back. It's one of the community service projects that Coach (Steve) Smith thinks is important that we try to help with," Johnson said. "It's a good experience for our kids and we think it's important."

Prihoda said she is proud of Baylor's first year effort as a partner in Texas' largest one-day food drive. "We'll be really involved in the future," she said.

For more information on the Food for Families effort, visit the KWTX web site at http://news10.kwtx.com/10cares/FFFonline/FFFHome.htm .

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