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‘Nicholls CAN!’ donates non-perishables, cash to area food banks

THIBODAUX – The first “Nicholls CAN!” food drive concluded this week at Nicholls State University with collections of more than 6,500 non-perishable food items and cash donations exceeding $3,300. Proceeds will be divided among area food banks in Thibodaux, Raceland and Galliano.

Pictured from left are Melodia Benoit, co-manager of the Raceland food bank; Jean Donegan, head of the Department of Art and Nicholls CAN! committee member; Deborah Raziano, director of alumni affairs and Nicholls CAN! committee member; and Larry Howell, executive vice president at Nicholls.

Spearheaded by Jean Donegan, head of the Department of Art, the Nicholls CAN! steering committee involved more than 30 faculty, staff and students throughout campus with collection boxes in every building.

Clubs, departments and organizations all joined the drive, with several collecting more than 500 cans, including the College of Nursing and Allied Health, Department of Art and University College. Art department faculty and students, math and allied health faculty, sociology club members and student athletes participated in the collection of items throughout campus and in the sorting and boxing of all non-perishables prior to pick-up. Greek organizations helped as well, donating the proceeds from their annual Songfest event.

Deborah Raziano, director of alumni affairs and Nicholls CAN! committee member, worked with local alumni-owned businesses and coordinated the Greek organizations in the delivery and pick-up of donated items. Thirteen area businesses with alumni affiliations participated. Raziano said the committee’s goal is to double the number of participating businesses for the food drive’s second round, projected to kick off some time this fall.

Melodia Benoit, co-manager of the Raceland food bank, arrived at Nicholls with a trailer on Thursday, March 29, to retrieve the donations. “We are so very pleased with the generous response, and I commend all who were involved in this worthy project,” Benoit said.

Donegan added that the drive “was truly a university-wide effort. We are very proud of our campus family and the involvement of our alumni businesses, and we look forward to conducting a second food drive later this year. Almost every campus department and office participated in this first endeavor; all indications point to even greater success the next time around. We should be very proud.”

Tyler Folse, senior pre-physical therapy major, vice president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Nicholls CAN! committee member, said the food drive “represents what Nicholls is all about. We are a generous, service-minded community, and our goal is to encourage everyone to get involved.”

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