Radford Gives Back returns for fall food drive

 Angie Mitchell, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, participates in 2018's Radford Gives Back food collection event.
Angie Mitchell, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, participates in 2018's Radford Gives Back food collection event.

That extra food in your pantry or cupboard could help feed local schoolchildren very easily and very soon.

This Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 27 and 28, mark the sixth annual Radford Gives Back, the food drive in which scores of Highlanders volunteer alongside Bobcat Backpacks, the nonprofit organization that distributes weekend meals to local public-school students.

And if word of this upcoming effort feels a bit like déjà vu, it’s not a glitch in the matrix — due to the pandemic, last fall’s Radford Gives Back had to be delayed until February, but organizers say demand is ongoing.

“Having the event twice in one year hasn’t changed the need at all for our program,” said Jenny Riffe ’03, one of Bobcat Backpack’s founders. “Really, we could host an event of this size every three months.

“Every Friday, we feed around 150 students, so all donated food from Radford Gives Back gets sent home within the next few weeks,” she explained.

Organizers hope to match or exceed the previous event’s total of 15,000 donated items — that’s about three months’ worth of weekend meals for roughly 140 kids.

Radford Gives Back is one of the university’s largest community service outreach projects, and it provides about one-fifth of Bobcat Backpacks’ supplies for the entire year.

The organization is largely seeking canned goods — fruits, vegetables, pasta dishes, chunky soup and Beanie Weenies — or boxes of macaroni and cheese and microwave popcorn, but a full list of items is available here

Donations can be brought to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Multipurpose Activity Court (MAC), via the side door facing Covington Center, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Thursday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Bobcat Backpacks can be found on Facebook, Instagram and GoFundMe by searching “bobcatbackpacks.” You can also contact the organization or arrange to make a later donation at “bobcatbackpacks@gmail.com.”

Also this month: Radford University Carilion is hosting a donation drive to support RAM House, a nonprofit day shelter in Roanoke. Through Oct. 29, RUC is accepting supplies at Highlander House on the fourth floor at RUC. Some of the items sought are paper products, picnic supplies, face masks, coffee, toothbrushes and razors. Further details about that effort are also available online.

Oct 25, 2021
Neil Harvey
(540) 831-5150
nmharvey@radford.edu