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United Way takes in hundreds of donations during 'Stuff the Truck' event

Cynthia Prescott (left) and her daughters, Emily and Sarah, drop off items at the United Way's "Stuff the Truck" event Tuesday night in the UND Bookstore parking lot. (Sydney Mook / Grand Forks Herald)

Despite lower-than-expected turnout, the United Way's campaign kickoff event Tuesday night collected hundreds of items for those in need in the Grand Forks area.

The "Stuff the Truck" donation drive, formerly known as "Stack the Stage," was able to collect almost 700 nonperishable food items and personal care items for local food shelves.

The event is a kickoff for the United Way's upcoming fundraising campaign.

This year's drive was held Tuesday night in the parking lot of the UND Bookstore, a new time and location for the annual event. Lisa Martinez, marketing manager for the United Way, said turnout was lower this year than years past.

This was the first time the event was held at night and in a different location than Town Square, said Pat Berger, president and CEO of United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area.

Previously, United Way conducted the campaign during lunch hour downtown, where people could stop by in their vehicles to drop off items.

Organizers wanted to make the event fun for the whole family and added games and bounce houses for kids this, prompting the time and venue change, Berger said. Getting people used to the new time may take more promotion, she said.

Overall, Berger said she was happy with this year's donations, adding comparisons with last year are difficult because they didn't count physical donations last fall.

"We had to try something new and then you look at weather all over the place," Berger said. "But I was very pleased."

United Way distributes the donations to food shelves in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, as well as to the new Student Pantry on UND's campus.

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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