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Crankgiving raises awareness, donations for community food banks

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Selena Quintanilla | The Daily Wildcat

A UA student bikes toward First street on Sept. 21. Bikers will travel to grocery stores around the university collecting food to donate to food banks during Cranksgiving on Dec. 1.

Cranksgiving combines biking and donating to food banks into a unique experience organized by UA students. The event is held once a year where participants from the Tucson and UA cycling communities travel to grocery stores around the university, buying food to donate to food banks.

The event starts Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. at 1400 East Maple Street, directly north of the Highland parking garage.

Jaclyn Mendelson, a plant sciences senior, and Olin Marman, a pre-business freshman, organized this year's event.

Daily Wildcat: What is Cranksgiving?

Olin Marman: Cranksgiving is a bicycle community event designed to bring people together. We hope to combine the Tucson community with the Tucson cycling community with the UA community and bring them out to raise food and awareness for the hunger issues, which are magnified this time of year. We hope to combat those issues by raising food through cycling.

What is the history of Cranksgiving?

OM: Cranksgiving is an event started in New York City by bike messengers. If someone wants to start an event where they live, they're welcome to. Over the last few years, the events have really gained popularity because of the fun involved.

How can UA students get involved?

Jaclyn Mendelson: It's super easy, everyone and anyone is invited to join and be a part of it ... Students can get involved in a few ways: they can volunteer with us and make sure the day runs smoothly, or they can actually come out and be a participant. Students can participate with groups but must play individually. Students register with us and bike from grocery store to grocery store buying food. The route will be between five and 10 miles. We want them to collect as much food as possible.

Where does the food come from?

OM: Participants are competing in the event. Each individual will spend 15 to 20 dollars buying food for the event. People don't have to spend a lot of money, or they can spend all the money in the world, but participants go from grocery store to grocery store buying food to donate.

Where does the food go?

JM: We are donating the food to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and also hopefully the UA Campus Pantry. It's good for members of Students for Sustainability to be teaming up with other campus organizations to help the people on our campus who are hungry.

What are your goals for the event?

JM: We want people to have fun and we want as many people as possible to come out. We want families and all different kinds of people. We want students to bring their friends and spread the word in the community.

OM: In terms of food, the goal is 1,000 pounds. We are thinking 10 pounds for a hundred people. That is a pretty high-reaching goal, but that's the point of goals in the first place.

Who is sponsoring the event?

JM: We're getting a lot of community support in ways other than food by different organizations in Tucson. Some have donated prizes. We're not going to say what the prizes are, but we have been backed by the REI in Tucson, Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange and also Road Runner Bicycles. We're hoping to get some more local bike shops to support us and donate some prizes.

After the event concludes, Marman and Mendelson plan to host an afterparty, where they'll celebrate and continue to raise money for the food bank. All students are encouraged to bring their bikes and donate food to the members of the community who need it most.


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