Today marks the beginning of the third annual “Fighting Irish, Fighting Hunger” food drive kicks off this week, which will last through Sept. 29. Anne Kolaczyk, chairperson of “Fighting Irish, Fighting Hunger,” said the drive began in 2010 under the name of “Holy Cross Harvest.” “It combined all the small food drives held by departments into one,” she said. “We collected about 600 pounds of food and about $2,500 in cash donations.” The drive was originally envisioned as a joint effort between the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross, but has since been converted to a Notre Dame drive, Kolaczyk said. She said the drive was re-named “Fighting Irish, Fighting Hunger” this year to reflect that. “The name reflects Notre Dame’s unique effort, but we are still part of the ‘Holy Cross Harvest’ food drive,” she said. “We also moved the date of the drive to September to coordinate with Hunger Action month.” Kolaczyk said the drive’s new time has allowed for the committee to use different fundraising techniques to target visitors on campus, as well as faculty and staff. “There will be a special collection in the Basilica the weekend of the Michigan State game,” she said. “Also, there will be donation jars at Food Service locations, and students attending the Blackhawks scrimmage on campus will be asked to bring a food item.” Kolaczyk said all the food donations will go to United Way, which has a coalition of local food pantries. “The money will be divided between the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and People Gotta Eat, a United Way organization,” she said. “United Way has a donor who is willing to match our monetary donation.” Kolaczyk said that the last food drive was in Feb. 2013. “People were very generous eight and nine months ago, and we felt it was important to have another drive now,” she said. “We didn’t want people to forget about us.” The demand for donations is very high, especially in Northern Indiana, Kolaczyk said. “A lot of kids depend on free breakfast and lunch at school because there’s not enough food at home,” she said. “Everything we get is needed.” According to a 2010 state report prepared for Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc., 80 percent of Indiana food pantries have experienced an increase in the number of clients since 2006. “Many emergency food providers turn people away because they do not have enough food,” the report said. “29 percent of pantries, 11 percent of kitchens and 42 percent of shelters reported turning away clients during the previous year.” Donation barrels are located around campus. Check fightinghunger.nd.edu for more information.
The congressman also acknowledged the funds are coming at a difficult time, when many local goverments are looking at budget cuts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Brindisi said the money can be used for things like new equipment, PPE, and other necessary items to help first responders continue to protect the community they serve. ENDICOTT (WBNG) — Congressman Anthony Brindisi announced the Endicott Fire Department received more than $2,500 in funding from FEMA’s assistance to firefighters grant program. “It’s really important to get as many federal dollars into the community as possible to help make up for those losses that may be coming from the state, and to make sure that we’re keeping the first responders safe and able to do the job.” Brindisi told 12 News. The congressman says it is critical for leaders to be there for services like fire departments. He emphasized his office is always looking to help departments secure grant funding.