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Challenged by Instructor, M.P.A. Students Collect Foodbank Donations

Students in Gail Nicula's Community Participation class in the School of Public Service's M.P.A. program made an immediate difference in the lives of hungry Hampton Roads families.

Nicula, an adjunct faculty member in the Strome College of Business, received an urgent appeal from the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore - their shelves were almost entirely bare, during one of the Foodbank's busiest times of the year.

The course seeks to marry theory and practice in using public administration skills to make a difference in communities.

Nicula challenged her class of 11 graduate students - 10 M.P.A. students and an engineering management doctoral student - and they responded by donating almost 34 pounds of food, which she delivered on July 30.

"The Foodbank volunteer who checked the donation in was surprised and delighted, and told me that a food delivery would be made the next day. They said our timing was excellent," Nicula said. A few days later, Nicula returned to the Foodbank with a second donation of food from students in the class, making their total donations more than 60 pounds.

The local Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore has been providing food for the needy since 1981. The agency, which serves nearly 60,000 hungry children annually, has distributed more than 19 million pounds of food in its 11-community service area in the past year.

Serving the more than 182,000 residents of the region who struggle with hunger, the Foodbank's stores of supplies are at a critical level. In addition to the donation of food, a $10 cash donation will provide 30 meals, and will result in the distribution of up to $60 worth of grocery products.

To donate to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, see the agency's Website.