Carnegie Mellon University

Staff Council

The voice for staff at Carnegie Mellon University

November 20, 2020:

Food & Fund Drive Reaches New Heights

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

Words cannot express how grateful we are for your collective generosity in support of our 27th Annual Food Drive. Your contributions have set yet another record in our 27-year history. In a short span of time, we contributed the following:

  • Total dollars raised: $81,436.27
  • Total lbs: 2,419 (including can openers)
  • Can Openers: 285 (donated to our CMU Food Pantry)

Using the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s formula to convert dollars to pounds and adding that figure to our cash total, our grand total raised this year is an incredible $84,460.02.

This is our most successful drive in CMU history, and we cannot thank you enough for your generosity! During this year’s drive, we quickly surpassed five online giving goals and exceeded our goal of 100 can openers at the first drive and drop event.

Our collective financial support alone will help provide 407,181 meals to our neighbors in need this holiday season. During a time of so much distress and hardship, we’ve come together to do a wonderful thing for our own students, as well as neighbors in need in the greater Pittsburgh area. We have truly set the standard for compassion and generosity to help end hunger and food insecurity in the region.

The bar has been set high for our 28th annual food drive in the fall of 2021. Given this year’s results, you’ve all shown that anything is possible!

Thank you, again.


Jim Garrett
Honorary Chair of the 2020 CMU Community Food Drive

Carole Panno
Associate Director of Gift Planning, University Advancement
Staff Council Food Drive Committee Chair

Carnegie Mellon University’s 27th Annual Food & Fund Drive, sponsored by Staff Council
November 2 – 16, 2020

For nearly three decades, Carnegie Mellon has run one of the highest grossing food drives in the City of Pittsburgh, contributing more than $128,000 and almost 76 TONS of non-perishables to support those in need. Our partners at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB) have shared that this translates into 648,222 meals! The university is motivated each year to keep this tradition alive because we care about our community and want to ensure that nobody in the Greater Pittsburgh area goes hungry.

Given the current challenges many Pittsburghers are facing due to COVID-19, we are more determined than ever to raise as much as possible this year and we hope you will join us. Like most food drives, we have gone virtual for the most part this year. Gifts can be made here or by texting to 50155, entering CMUGives and adding a donation amount of your choice. 

CMU’s Annual Food Drive attributes much of its past success to the friendly spirit of competition infused in our efforts. Without our usual events like Cans Across the Cut and One Day, One Can, we hope to accomplish this same sense of competition and camaraderie through online teams the GPCFB is hosting on their site. You can create a team here with fellow friends and co-workers! Please note: a minimum goal of $500 must be set in order to establish a team – a constraint of the giving platform. So, don’t worry if you want to establish a team but feel this is a stretch…all gifts and team contributions are important! In 2019, we raised $28,787.41 and 6,805.3 pounds of non-perishables. Please consider a gift in any amount to help make up for the non-perishables we won’t be collecting due to health and safety considerations. All proceeds will benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Thank you for your support and for making a difference in our community! For general questions, please contact Carole Panno or for questions regarding teams, please contact Margaret Cox

 Drive and Drop Option

In addition to the funds we hope to raise, we will offer an opportunity for those on campus to contribute non-perishables on November 11th (11a-1p) and November 16th (1p-3p) at the Tepper Garage. Three barrels will be in this location to drive up and drop off items. Our focus areas include the following, though all contributions are welcome

  • Can openers (non-electric)

Our goal is to collect 100 can openers, which will be given to our CMU Food Pantry. This is currently the greatest area of need for our campus pantry.

  • Snack items (to replace our annual Snack Bags for Kids effort)
  • Peanut butter (to replace our annual Parking for Peanut Butter effort)

For questions regarding Drive and Drop, please contact Michelle Porter.   Fundraising®

The 2019 CMU Community Food Drive

Raised $28,787.41 and

6,805.3 pounds of Nonperishables

Of the non-perishables collected, we donated almost 85 pounds to CMU’s Campus Food Pantry. Additionally, we collected over 485 pounds of peanut butter, and assembled 1,164 snack bags for kids. Both the “Parking for Peanut Butter” and “Snack Bags for Kids” initiatives set new records. We also collected 14 boxes of non-perishables and $433 at “One Day, One Can.” We had a great showing of teams and associated contributions for “Cans Across the Cut,” highlighted by teams being able to make financial gifts online this year. In addition to cash and food brought to the Cut, competing teams contributed an additional $1,135 online.


For questions regarding this year’s drive, please contact committee chair, Carole Panno

Other Ways to Get Involved

people lining up food donationsOne Day, One Can

One Day, One Can takes place during the HR's annual Benefits & Fitness Fair in the CUC on the 2nd floor outside of Rangos.
People can bring a can or cash donations to the event and are entered into a raffle for GREAT prizes!

In 2018 we raised
16 boxes of food and $457.07!

We topped our cash collection of $278.00 by quite a bit. What a great day!

people filling bags with snacks for kidsSnack Bags for Kids

In 2017, 807 snack bags were packed.
In 2018, 1,156 snack bags were packed.
In 2019, let's see if we can top last year!

Bring donations of single-serve items to make snack bags for kids in need. Donations will be accepted in the following locations: Alumni House 204, Gates 6010, Hamburg Hall 1115A, Hunt Library Circulation Desk, Mellon Institute 414, NREC Lobby, and Fitness Center 259C - Cohon University Center.

Snack bags for needy children include healthy, non-perishable items such as:

  • fruit/pudding cups
  • trail mix
  • granola bars
  • cracker packs
  • juice boxes
  • pretzels
  • cereal bars
  • fruit roll-ups
  • dried fruit and nuts
  • small toiletries
  • wrapped candy
  • large zip lock bags, sling sacks, bags w/handles

You can participate by donating items for the snack bags or by spending your lunch hour helping to assemble the bags. Details coming soon.

canned goods lined up along sidewalkCans Across the Cut

“Cans Across the Cut” is an annual, day-long event that takes place on the final day of the Food Drive. Teams across campus comprised of students, faculty, and staff, compete to gather the most canned goods, non-perishables, and/or monetary donations which are lined up side-by-side to extend across The Cut starting at the clock.

Register a team or simply bring your donations to the Cut from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to help make our line of food reach all the way across campus!

The winning team gets bragging rights and a trophy for the year!

Register your team today!

person's hand holding a jar of peanut butter
It's Peanut Butter Parking Time!

Parking & Transportation Services is pleased to work with Staff Council to support the University's Food Drive. Sinced this initiative began, you have raised:

In 2017 — 115 lbs
In 2018 — 444.5 lbs

There are three ways you can participate, and help area families in need.  All donations benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

  • Pay an outstanding CMU parking citation by stopping in our East Campus Garage office with a donation of peanut butter
  • Bring a donation of peanut butter to our East Campus Garage office for a chance to win a free month of parking or a month of "VIP" Parking
  • Donate peanut butter on the day of "Cans Across the Cut" in November. If you park in the East Campus Garage for this event, you will receive validated parking with your peanut butter donation