By JOANNA KASPER
When most people were busy buying Christmas gifts, the BYU community pulled together to help rescue a local food bank nearing starvation.
“I received a call late in the afternoon on Dec. 17 from United Way that said there was an emergency because the food bank was almost depleted. They had two days worth of food left,” said Amelia Matthews, the campus coordinator for United Way.
Matthews feared the drive would fail because most university students were already headed home for the holidays. However, with the help of several university services, the drive was under way less than 24 hours after the phone call.
While campus scheduling provided five locations for bins, print and mail services crunched their deadlines to distribute fliers throughout the university announcing the drive.
Carol Louw, campus mail supervisor, said that while delivery of this sort usually has to be scheduled in advanced, policies were bypassed to help the drive.
“People all over were just so willing to help,” Matthews said. “They were just all doing things that we didn’t expect.”
Bins were overflowing with food the morning after the first day of the drive.
With help from the grounds crew, a truck was assigned to pick up the food. “The first day after they made the announcement, they were in a panic because the bins were overflowing. It was sort of a last minute thing; most people who were here responded quite admirably,” said Roy Peterman, director of grounds.
Matthews said sometimes during the drive she would have to call grounds twice a day to tell them that the bins were overflowing.
“The food bank couldn’t believe it. The people at United Way couldn’t believe that we were able to gather so much food so quickly. They were telling all the corporations around what a good job we were doing and were challenging them to do just as well, if not better,” Matthews said.
In addition to canned goods, the food bank also received turkeys from faculty members and money from several individuals who wanted to help but were unable to donate food.