Helping Hands Shatters Old Record
After 18 years, University of Findlay’s Helping Hands food drive continues to break records and help fight food insecurity in Hancock County. After collecting, weighing, sorting, and packaging food donations on Wednesday, University and local community members came together to celebrate and finalize the totals on Thursday. The 2023 Helping Hands brought in 249,897 pounds of food, donated by community members, students, and University employees.
“It’s overwhelming to see that number go up every year, thinking ‘there’s no way it can go up any more.’ This year was one of those years where I was positive that we would have a good showing, but I didn’t think we were going to beat last year’s record (238,732 pounds),” said David Harr, University of Findlay director of Dining Services. Part of Harr’s fear stemmed from the price of groceries and the financial strain everyone is currently feeling. Despite the strain, people dug deep into their pockets and found it in their hearts to donate, helping to break last year’s record by more than 11,000 pounds.
Contributing to the total amount of food were University departments and offices, student organizations, and local school districts who competed for awards and bragging rights. Using the measurement of pounds per person, faculty and staff competed for the Emsweller Cup, with the College of Business taking home the cup and bragging rights (1,410 pounds per person = 22,555 pounds total), and local middle schools competed for the “Golden Can Award,” with McComb Middle School taking home the Golden Can for the second year in a row (8.03 pounds per person = 2,192 pounds total). Helping Hands’ CANstruction event awarded three student organizations for their efforts to “scare away hunger” with their designs made up of canned food. “People’s Choice” went to Oiler Marching Band with 536 votes, “Most Creative” went to Alpha Psi Omega, and “Most Weight” went to UNITED with 2,667 pounds.
All 249,897 pounds of food were picked up and transported by Garner Trucking Inc. of Findlay to CHOPIN Hall (Christians Helping Other People In Need). In total, 59 pallets of food filled three semi trailers, and included 5,168 jars of peanut butter (top requested item). CHOPIN Hall’s director, Ron Rooker, was beyond excited to learn how much food was collected, as food insecurity has increased in Hancock County. With Helping Hands being one of CHOPIN Hall’s biggest collection events each year, Rooker says he is always nervous. “It’s tough to explain how important this event is to us. It fills the pantry at CHOPIN Hall, but more importantly, it allows our clients to receive more food and food options that we are unable to provide throughout the year,” Rooker said. “This event helps fill the bellies of our clients and it fills the heart of CHOPIN Hall. We are extremely grateful.”
To learn more about the University of Findlay’s Helping Hands event, visit www.findlay.edu/helpinghands. For additional pictures from Thursday’s event, please visit University of Findlay’s Flickr page.