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In 2005, more than 700,000 Arizonans faced an overwhelming choice. They were forced to choose between shelter, water, transportation and food. One in 12 of Arizona’s seniors, one in seven of Arizona’s adults, and one in five of Arizona’s children faced this harrowing reality.

These people were the “food insecure” — their “ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways [was] limited or uncertain.”

Since Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks and food rescue organizations, released these statistics in “The Almanac of Hunger and Poverty in Arizona 2007,” even more Arizonans have faced the same problems.

Though domestic poverty and food insecurity are normally overlooked, these problems are sad realities exacerbated by the national economic crisis. Moreover, our addiction to growth has imploded the local economy.

It’s likely that more Arizonans will find themselves out of work, out of money and out of food than ever before in Arizona’s history.

We should help those in need during these troubling times. Without our help, Arizonans in need will continue to struggle to provide themselves and their families with the basic necessities of life.

But what can we do to help people in need?

I am the vice president of a student group on campus called ASU for Food, which is dedicated to fighting hunger in Arizona. This week, the club is hosting a new kind of food drive on campus, the ASU Food Fight.

The ASU Food Fight came about through other “food fights” occurring across the country. These events challenge students to compete with each other and help people in need.

Our food fight will challenge student organizations, residence halls, colleges and campuses to donate the most food and money to local food banks.

At each of ASU’s campuses, we will collect donations to help two local food banks — St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix and United Food Bank in Mesa.

During halftime of the ASU men’s basketball game against UA on Feb. 22, we will announce the winners.

So, from Feb. 16 to 20, we encourage students, faculty, staff, alumni and anyone else associated with ASU to donate food or money on behalf of any organization at ASU to help people in need.

All you need to do is bring non-perishable food donations to one of the donation boxes at ASU. Donation boxes are located at each of the markets on the Tempe campus, at the Wells Fargo Student Center on the Downtown campus, and at multiple locations on the West campus. We will also have donation boxes and a table set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day near the Tempe campus Memorial Union.

You can also make donations online at or on behalf of any organization. Just indicate which organization you want the donation to count toward, and bring the receipt to one of the ASU for Food volunteers or forward your receipt e-mail to me. Donating just $1 means food banks can distribute at least seven pounds of food.

Whether you participate or not, keep in mind the real problems faced by real people throughout the state. Together, we can make their lives a little bit easier.

For more information, or if you make an online donation, contact Brett at

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