Annual PB&J drive continues in year eight

pb&j.pngFood for Fines, or the PB&J Drive, is an on-campus food drive at UAA that provides an opportunity for students to pay off parking citations with food donations. Put on by Parking Services and the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity, the goal of the event is to collect food to feed hungry individuals both attending UAA and in the Anchorage community.

Since the fall of 2009, UAA Parking Services has participated or sponsored the event in some form, and the drive has consistently taken place for a two week period in the month of November. By partnering with an on-campus club or organization to battle food insecurity, the event remains consistent in encouraging participation of UAA students to work towards a good cause.

This is Phi Kappa Theta’s first year of involvement in the drive, thanks to Douglas Echternacht, senior health major and vice president for philanthropy of the fraternity.

“The primary goal of the event is to stock the Emergency Food Cache here at UAA… which directly benefits UAA and it’s students,” Echternacht said.

A service provided by the Student Health and Counseling Center, the cache collects food for students who are considered food insecure.

Glenna Muncy, UAA Parking Services director encouraged sponsorship from Greek organizations or clubs on campus that have a service component to their membership.

The PB&J drive originally only accepted donations of peanut butter and jelly products, hence the name.

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Photo credit: Parking Services

However, new changes this year have opened up more possibilities for food donation. Since peanut butter and jelly have limited options for eating without bread or other foods accompanying them, Food for Fines is accepting other products.

Some of these newly accepted items include canned soups, noodle cups and granola or protein bars. These products are also intentionally calorie-rich, keeping someone who is hungry satisfied for longer between meals.

Donations will go into the Emergency Food Cache first. Once full, the remaining food will be distributed by Phi Kappa Theta to the Food Bank of Alaska and Bean’s Cafe.

According to Echternach, Muncy and Falon Harkins, associate director of Parking Services, the PB&J Drive has a reputation for success, collecting a combined total of over 9,000 pounds of food since 2009.

If the PB&J Drive doesn’t collect as many products as anticipated, Echternacht has arrangements with local companies, who will donate in order to fill the cache.

“[The drive is] beneficial in the sense that it gives people the opportunity to pay less for citations, but more importantly, help their fellow students with donations while receiving a personal incentive to do so,” Harkins said.

Food for Fines takes place from Nov. 6 – 17, just in time for Thanksgiving, and during the biggest citation distribution of the academic year, according to Harkins. Throughout the beginning of the fall semester, Parking Services gives out the highest number of citations for two major reasons: There are a lot of new students on campus, and with the snowfall, people park farther apart than usual.

As well as supporting students in need, the PB&J Drive shines a light on Parking Services.

“Many students spend their whole career at UAA without ever visiting our [Parking Services] office. This event gives us an opportunity to invite users to our office for a good cause,” Muncy said. “It provides awareness to our other programs… and allows students a way to resolve citations before they are posted to their student account for collection.”

Most citations issued in the last 30 days are eligible to be paid through donations. The specific food products given to the PB&J Drive can relieve $10, $35 and $60 parking citations. You can still donate even if you haven’t received a citation for a chance to win a spring parking permit with a value of $170, with entries allowed up to three times per week.

Food for Fines will be accepting products until Friday, Nov. 17. Donations are kept in the Parking Services office, located in the Eugene Short Hall, Room 125. Items are accepted during the hours of 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Fridays from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.