U-Life students collect loads of food for donation to the local Kids+ Backpack Distribution Program

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U-Life students collect loads of food for donation to the local Kids+ Backpack Distribution Program

Members of the University of North Dakota’s Introduction to University Life (U-Life) classes built their very own mountain in on the second floor of the school’s Memorial Union.

It was a mountain of giving, representing weeks of nonperishable food collections around campus in October and November. U-Life students encouraged the campus community to donate to the local Northlands Rescue Mission’s Kids+ Backpack Distribution Program. The result was massive.

“This is our first year working with the Kids+ Backpack program,” said Stacey Borboa-Peterson, from the UND Student Success Center. “I know that the outpouring of support and donations from the students and community was truly remarkable.”

The Backpack Program distributes food to children living with hunger in the Grand Forks area. The program fills and distributes approximately 600 bags of food each week. Food insecurity and hunger can impact a child's physical, mental and cognitive health and impair typical growth and development.

In October, U-Life came together for a day of yoga in the central quad on campus, where each attendee was encouraged to bring a friend and a food item to donate. In addition to the yoga charity drive, each U-Life class section adopted a building on campus, where they conducted another food drive during the last week of October to collect even more for the Kids+ Backpack program.

Four U-Life sections, comprising Aviation majors, were able to fill 138 student backpacks, each containing one can of soup, a package of noodles, a bag of chips or crackers, a fruit or pudding cup, a package of fruit snacks, two packs of oatmeal, two packets of hot chocolate and two drink boxes. The remaining nine class sections collected enough food to fill about 30 large boxes and more than 40 grocery bags.

The donations were delivered on Monday, Nov. 16. One of the U-Life sections assisted in packaging the food into the boxes and moving all donations to a pick-up location on campus. After multiple trips, all food was delivered. There were a number of individuals from the mission who helped unload the food.

“Students were surprised to see how much food was collected,” Borboa-Peterson said.

Each U-Life class section chose a building in which they conducted their respective food drives, but many other campus offices and departments asked to participate in the drive as well.

“The support and encouragement that students received from the campus community was amazing, so much so, that we plan to continue working with this organization next fall,” Borboa-Peterson said.

Teresa DiGregorioUniversity & Public Affairs student writer

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