The 2018 Valley United begins this week and will continue until Nov. 30. During the food drive, UVU and BYU students will compete to raise the most money and gather the most food donations for Community Action Services. This food drive is the largest of its kind in Utah County. All the funds raised and food donated stays in the community, benefiting families who use the Community Action food pantry in Provo.

Utah Valley and Brigham Young universities have been helping families in need through this food drive since 2012. During the 2017 drive, Utah Valley residents raised $40,543 and donated 266,292 pounds of food for local families in need.

“We’re so grateful for the generosity of the two universities, students and the community,” said our food bank manager Dave Smith. “During this time of year, it’s important to keep our shelves stocked. We don’t want anyone going hungry, especially during the holidays.”

During the Oct. 26 kick-off event, BYU’s Cosmo the Cougar and UVU’s Willy the Wolverine walked through our Provo food pantry with families as they chose what they needed for the week.

From now until Nov. 30, community members and students can donate online through a secure website. At BYU, people also can give money at the BYU bookstore, the Creameries, and the Cougareat. UVU also has money donation locations. Each school has bins and barrels set up around campus for non-perishable food donations. To find a list of needed items, check the list here.

“We’re excited to see what happens during the drive this year,” Smith said.

For each dollar donated, we can buy 15 pounds of food, or three meals. The food donated during the drive will stock the shelves of our food pantry that serves Utah County, where 13.3 percent of residents are food insecure. “Food insecure” means they don’t know where they’ll get their next meal. Last year, our Provo pantry served 900 families each month.

Community Action Services and Food Bank has been helping people in Utah County since 1967. Our programs teach self-sufficiency skills to people living in poverty and help them overcome poverty.