On Tuesday March 21, the Campus Police held their first ever “Cram the Cruiser” food drive event in Spigel Hall. All proceeds from the event were donated to Seva Food Bank, which is a local organization that works towards providing nutritious food to low-income families in Mississauga.
“I’m a big believer in community service, and I really encourage our officers to be involved in community service as well,” explains Robert Messacar, manager of the campus police services at UTM. “One of our building patrollers is connected with [Seva], and she just recently won the volunteer of the year award with that organization, which we are quite proud of her for.”
Messacar explains that all members of the campus police department share a passion and interest in community service. While they were brainstorming ways to better serve the community, Messacar says that many officers approached him independently with the idea of launching a food drive.
Bobbi-jo Duff, a corporal in the UTM Campus Police department, was responsible for coordinating and promoting the event through social media. She explains that regional police services, like Peel and Halton, often hold “cram the cruiser”-style food drives in collaboration with food banks where participants can donate and fill the police car right outside their local grocery store.
“Hopefully we can make it an annual event,” Duff says.
Donating the proceeds to Seva felt like a natural progression in the relationship between the food bank and the UTM community. Duff explains that the university partners with various external agencies for students to do volunteer work with and obtain part-time employment. Seva Food Bank happens to be one of the many organizations where UTM students volunteer.
“Even if people can’t donate today, we’d love if people could just drop donations off at the campus police office, and we would make sure it gets to the food bank as well,” Duff says.