VCU 'Pound Out Hunger' Community Service Project Aims to Provide Protein for 500,000 Meals in Honor of President Rao’s Inauguration

Virginia Commonwealth University is holding a weeklong, university-wide food drive in honor of President Michael Rao’s inauguration to benefit FeedMore, the umbrella organization for the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia and the Community Kitchen. In addition, VCU Dining Services is contributing to the drive by sponsoring a waste week event to reduce student food waste.  

The “Pound Out Hunger” inauguration food drive, aimed at providing protein for 500,000 meals, will be held on both campuses from Oct. 10 until Oct. 17. Meeting the goal will more than double previous contributions of food and funds by VCU to the food bank over a 12-month period.
“The presidential inauguration planning committee wanted to develop a number of special events to coincide with the inauguration ceremony,” said Cathy Howard, vice provost of the Division of Community Engagement. “Given VCU's strong commitment to the community, the committee felt that one of the events should be a service project to address a critical need of our community.”   

The planning committee decided on the food drive because hunger is an ongoing issue in Central Virginia.

“Given the recent reports of increases in poverty, especially children living in poverty, compounded by the devastation of Hurricane Irene, we learned of the extreme demands on the Central Virginia Food Bank to provide for people in Central Virginia,” Howard said. “We want to challenge the VCU community — faculty, staff, students and alumni — to provide protein for 500,000 meals for our community and to learn more about the issue of hunger and its impact on children, families and seniors.”

Protein sources such as peanut butter and tuna provide a critical building block for health, growth and well-being. With three ounces of protein per meal recommended for most nutritious diets, 100,000 jars or cans of protein can provide that essential component for half a million meals to feed the region’s children, families, seniors and adults.

“Fall is a tough time of year for us,” said Kathryn Erhardt, director of strategic gifts at FeedMore. “Our shelves are depleted because there aren’t as many food drives during the summer months.”

The after-effects of Hurricane Irene also reduced resources as the Central Virginia Food Bank and Meals on Wheels worked to meet the needs of storm victims.

“With power outages affecting many of our feeding partners as well as individuals, we provided emergency bags as well as thousands of meals through our partnership with the Red Cross,” Erhardt said.

Increasing costs for peanut butter and tuna have made it more difficult to keep those popular sources of protein in stock. FeedMore distributes, on average, 650 jars of peanut butter and 960 cans of tuna every day through the Food Bank’s distribution center.  

During the “Pound Out Hunger” food drive, peanut butter and tuna will be collected at:

Monroe Park Campus

  • VCU Alumni House (lobby)
  • Hibbs Hall (1st floor)
  • James Branch Cabell Library (4th floor)
  • University Student Commons (inside room 120)
  • Cary Street Gym (lobby)
  • Rhoads/Brandt Halls (foyer)
  • The Honors College (foyer)
  • Gladding Residence Center (foyer)
  • Johnson Hall (foyer)
  • Cary & Belvidere (foyer)
  • Ackell Residence Center (foyer)
  • Broad and Belvidere Housing (foyer)
  • Jefferson Street Parking Deck (entrance)
  • West Cary Street Parking Deck (entrance)
  • West Broad Street Parking Deck (entrance)

MCV Campus

  • VCU Medical Center Cafeteria (entrance)
  • VCU Medical Care Concierge Desk (CCH1)
  • School of Pharmacy (1st floor lobby)
  • School of Dentistry (Lyons) (2nd floor patient registration)
  • Tompkins-McCaw Library (lobby)
  • MCV Alumni House (lobby)
  • Larrick Student Center
  • Cabaniss Hall (foyer)
  • VA Treatment Center for Children (lobby)
  • “N” Deck Parking (entrance)
  • “D” Deck Parking (cat walk)
  • Hunton Student Center

VCUHS Offsite Locations

  • VCUHS Human Resources (1st floor lobby)
  • One Cap Square (1st floor lobby)
  • Stony Point (1st floor administrative suite)
  • Children’s Hospital Brook Road (1st floor lobby cafeteria)
  • MCV Physicians  Business Office (1st floor lobby)

Donors may also consider cash donations, which may be made online at A $1 donation would count as 5 pounds towards the goal of 100,000 pounds. Or make a $10 donation by texting FEEDMORE to 85944. Every $10 donation can provide 50 meals through the Food Bank’s distribution center.

“Waste Not, Want Not Week” supports the Inauguration Food Drive

A second component of the effort takes place Oct. 3 to Oct. 7 when VCU Dining Services is encouraging students to waste less during Market 810’s “Waste Not, Want Not Week.” Students will be encouraged to eat as much food as they want but to avoid wasting any food. For each pound of food waste reduced, ARAMARK will donate a pound of food in support of the Inauguration Food Drive.

"’Waste Not, Want Not’ is an important semi-annual initiative for VCU Dining Services because we use this time to educate students on the impact their decisions have on the environment and the waste stream,” said Diane Reynolds, director of business services. “Each fall and spring semester, we remind guests to adopt waste reduction habits while dining at Shafer Court Dining Center.

Another incentive beyond the reduction of food waste is ARAMARK's in-kind donation to support FeedMore. We have found this to be a win-win program for everyone involved.”

Student organizations compete to boost “Pound Out Hunger” Drive Totals

Student organizations at VCU will compete against one another to see which organization can donate the most peanut butter and tuna in honor of President Rao's inauguration. The competition will take place on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the University Student Commons Plaza. Rodney the Ram will be there from noon to 1 p.m. for photos with the students.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to stop by the University Commons Plaza to donate a jar of peanut butter or canned tuna on behalf of a student organization. For more information on the more than 470 registered student organizations at VCU, visit

Learning more about hunger in America

A “Hunger in America” online research guide, which includes a variety of library and Internet resources to find out more about hunger, has been created by VCU Libraries.  It is available at

For more information about the food drive, visit