Students have an opportunity to drive home the holiday spirit by contributing to Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) Third Annual Canned Food Drive from Dec. 1 to Dec. 14.

Drop-off locations for canned goods or nonperishable items will be at the TPS office, the kiosk at the east entrance of campus, the University Plaza and the UCen between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. TPS will donate all collected food to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, an organization that collects surplus and donated food and distributes it among other non-profit organizations. Elena Ricci, a TPS financial specialist, said last year’s drive collected 1,500 pounds of food. Ricci said this year’s goal is to collect 2,000 pounds of food.

Tom Roberts, the director of TPS, came up with the idea of the canned food drive three years ago.

“I started thinking about the holidays and family,” Roberts said. “I realized the campus has the facilities to make a difference.”

Roberts said he chose the Foodbank as the recipient of the drive because it is the South Coast’s largest food bank. After receiving food from donors, the Foodbank distributes the goods to local organizations and programs such as women’s shelters, AIDS Project Central Coast, Westside Seniors Program and the Head Start Program.

According to the Foodbank Web site, the organization distributed 5.4 million pounds of food to 68,000 people through 155 agencies in 2003. Roberts said by donating the food acquired in the drive to the Foodbank, TPS assured food would be sent to wherever it is needed.

Ricci, who was chosen by Roberts to head the event, said it is important to involve students in the drive.

“It’s great we are able to do something like this in conjunction with the UC community,” Ricci said.

Roberts says TPS appreciates the support of UCSB students and the Isla Vista community.

“We have our campus family who are able to help South Coast families with their resources,” Roberts said.