UC Merced is partnering with the Merced County Fair to support Mercy Medical Center’s “We Care Wednesday” Community Food Drive presented by EECU and University Industrial Park.
Anyone can join the fight against hunger and gain free admittance to the fair by bringing five or more cans of food from 5 to 7 p.m. on opening night, June 7.
“The purpose of this food drive is to bring our community together at the fair in an effort to help one another,” Merced County Fair CEO Teresa Burrola said. “We know with the addition of UC Merced, we can collectively tell the story of food insecurity in Merced County to even more people and encourage them to come out and help make a difference.”
All food collected will be donated to the Merced County Food Bank. Last year, 4,800 pounds of food were collected in two hours, and this year’s results are expected to be higher.
A recent survey shows that 57 percent of UC Merced students reported to have low to very low food security.
“Hunger in our community, especially among students, is something we know all too well,” Associate Director for the Office of Student Life and Civic Leadership Vernette Doty said. “Students go to class hungry and are unable to focus, while some community members have to choose what days they can eat or feed their families.
Food security is a critical issue not only on campus, but across Merced County.
“It is a sad reality that can only be combatted by our community coming together to help one another,” Doty said.
According to the latest census data, 25.1 percent of Merced County residents and 35 percent of Merced city residents live in poverty. The Merced County Food Bank’s 2016 report cites that the county’s overall food insecurity rate is 15.5 percent, which is higher than the state average of 13.9 percent.
“Every can collected truly makes a difference and provides nourishment for someone in our community,” Burrola said.
For information, contact Vernette Doty at firstname.lastname@example.org.