Thursday, December 03, 2009

UIS Holiday Stars Project collects 3 tons of food for central Illinois

The University of Illinois Springfield collected a record 6,209 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank as part of the 2009 Holiday Stars Project. That’s an over 40 percent increase in donations from last year.

“It’s fun to be able to say we raised a ton more than last year because in this case we really mean it, literally. It’s heartwarming,” said Richard D. Ringeisen, UIS chancellor.

On December 3, 2009, student volunteers from UIS helped fill a truck from the Central Illinois Foodbank with donations.

“We’re hearing at the volunteer center every week from food pantries where the donations are down this year, so it’s wonderful donations are up here at UIS to help people in our area,” said Kelly Thompson, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

Students kicked off the month-long food drive through a “Trick or Eat” competition on Halloween night, which collected more than 4,000 pounds of food alone. The effort continued on-campus during November as students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to participate.

“It feels amazing. There are no words to describe it. It’s just giving back to the community,” said Esther Ellison, junior social work major.

The Holiday Stars Project was first started in 2008 as a way to benefit the Central Illinois Foodbank, which assists families in 21 counties.

“This food that’s being donated today really is so awesome because it’s a variety of food, and at the Foodbank variety is really nice to get in because our food is donated,” said Gloria Shanahan, communications director for the Central Illinois Foodbank.

UIS plans to continue its effort to give back to the community next year through the Holiday Stars Project.


Anonymous said...

From the staff at Central Illinois Foodbank we appreciate all that you do to help others.

Jeanne Thomas said...

It's great to have such support for food banks in the community! For future projects, be aware that donating money to a food bank can be much more cost effective than buying food from a retailer.

A food bank can use the contributions to pay for the trucking that brings a wide variety of donated foods into the Central Illinois area.

For a graphic illustration of how effectively a food bank can turn cash into food, visit (the web site of a food bank in Michigan run by the founding director of the Central Illinois Foodbank).

Look for the poster "$10 of store-bought food vs. $10 of Food Bank food." Look at the Cash Man video, too. It's amazing how far a food bank can make dollar contributions grow!

Jeanne Thomas