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UCOP Food Drive will net $24,000 in food for local families

Counting food donations

Lorrene Ritchie (foreground) and Sonia Scott of Agriculture and Natural Resources tallied food donations from last week’s Food Drive.

Last week’s UCOP Food Drive collected $4,000 in cash donated through the Alameda County Community Food Bank website and nearly 600 food items, most of them from the healthy food list.

Those cash gifts translate into $24,000 worth of fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy food items that the food bank can purchase for distribution to local families.

Most donations came in online, including those from Kaiser, 20th St. and Broadway. Drive organizers said they’ll have another drive next year to celebrate National Food Day and will place food bins at all UCOP Oakland locations.

“The drive was a bigger success than I could have imagined,” said Lorrene Ritchie, Ph.D., R.D., director of ANR’s Nutrition Policy Institute and drive organizer. “We all want to thank everyone who participated for their generosity and support.”

Franklin’s tenth floor topped all others — with donations of $1,157 and 34 food items — and will win first prize of $100 worth of fresh produce from the Oakland Farmer’s Market. Franklin’s seventh floor came in second ($815, 65 food items) and the eighth floor third ($692, 175 food items); both will get certificates of appreciation.

Suzan Bateson, executive director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank, visited UCOP on Oct. 23 to speak about the work of the food bank in improving food security for students.

The food bank already runs mobile food banks at child care centers and elementary schools, and Bateson hopes to expand that service to community college and university campuses, where healthy eating can be a challenge due to student lifestyles and financial constraints. The Nutrition Policy Institute is planning a study of food insecurity on UC campuses to better understand the extent of the problem.

If you have ideas for how to improve the food drive next year, feel free to email Ritchie at

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