CPAWS Canned Food Drive A Success

Dec. 29, 2010

By Jeff Gentil

In these trying times, many families are in need and struggle to put food on the table year round. Due to the efforts of UC Life Skills Coordinator Shintara Carpenter, there will be fewer families with that problem this winter. Partnering with CPAWS (Committee to Promote Athlete Welfare and Success), Carpenter led the charge to collect as many cans of food to donate to the Free Store Food Bank as possible.

In the inaugural Bearcats Battle of the Cans campaign, 1,893 cans were collected campus-wide with the women's golf team leading the way with 336 cans. This year's drive began November 12 and ran through December 10.

"The athletes of our community service group, CPAWS, did the canned food drive as their November service," Carpenter said. "They challenged the department to see who could give the most."

Everyone on the UC campus was encouraged to donate as much as they could. Boxes were strategically placed in every locker room and office. They even could have been given directly to Carpenter in her office.

Unlike some drives that accept cash donations, this one was strictly non-perishable food items to help some of our friends and neighbors. In 2009, 43.6 million people - nearly 15 percent of the total population - were in poverty. A total of 5.6 million households visited a food pantry like the Free Store Food Bank one or more times. The numbers are staggering and sobering.

The urgency to help out in any way possible was the purpose behind UC's efforts this year.

"It's indescribable how giving to those in need makes you feel," Carpenter said. "It was my driving force when I would be exhausted from carrying heavy boxes and spending hours counting and keeping track of everything. Thinking about the end result made it all worth it."

While the Bearcat Battle of the Cans is over for this season, Carpenter is already thinking about next year's drive with the hopes of collecting even more with the increased awareness around campus.

"There was in-house competitive campaign going on to drum up more support," she said. "Next year we will do more, of course, having this year under our belt."

If you would like to contribute, it's very easy. Go to and click on "donate today" and follow the simple instructions. Unlike the Bearcats Battle of the Cans, you can give a cash donation. Or if you would prefer, you can donate your time by being a volunteer.