HOLIDAY HELPING: A Food Drive and a Food Run

Graphic: Lowercase "alpha" letter, as body of a turkey
Team logo: Three coupling constants (depicted by the Greek letter alpha in lowercase), turned into turkeys, for The Running of the Coupling Constants entry in the Running of the Turkeys. (Art by John Conway, professor, Department of Physics)

Mail Services’ annual Holiday Food Drive started today (Nov. 1), and another campus group is rounding up a team for the annual Running of the Turkeys fundraiser for the Yolo Food Bank.

First, the campus food drive that makes donating as easy as leaving canned goods and other foodstuffs in your unit’s outgoing mail. Mail Services has been collecting food like this every holiday season since 2005 on both the Davis and Sacramento campuses, bringing in a total of nearly 10 tons of food in 10 years.

 Yolo Food Bank logo.

“We make it easy for employees to donate, and we’re happy to do it. If we collected just five pounds of food from each mail stop we would donate a minimum of 3,000 pounds,” said Jen Carmichael, general manager of Distribution Services, which includes Mail Services.

Here’s a list of suggested items to donate:

  • Canned, ready-to-eat meals
  • Canned meat, fish and soups
  • Canned vegetables and tomato products
  • Dry beans (any type)
  • Enriched rice and pasta
  • Ramen
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Canned fruit (in juice)
  • Peanut butter (plastic container)
  • Iron-rich cereal (45 percent or more of daily value)
  • Powdered milk
  • Fruit juice (100 percent, in plastic containers 48 ounces or smaller)
  • Powdered milk formula
  • Similac baby food

Running of the Turkeys/Coupling Constants

Professor Lloyd Knox of the Department of Physics is organizing a campus team for the Running of the Turkeys fundraiser for the fifth consecutive year — and this year’s team has a new name: The Running Coupling Constants.

But, he said, you don’t have to be affiliated with the physics department or know the meaning of “running coupling constants” to run with this team — or to donate!

“Everyone is welcome to join us in supporting the Yolo Food Bank,” said Knox, who, as member of the food bank’s board of directors is well aware of hunger in Yolo County.

“More than 20 percent (44,000) of Yolo County residents do not have enough to eat,” he said. “One in four children do not know where their next meal will come from.”

The food bank, with the assistance of its partner agencies, serves about 20,000 people each month. “By leveraging donations of food, the food bank can turn every donated dollar into more than two meals,” Knox said. “Where else can you get such value for your money?”

He’s set a team fundraising goal of $4,400, and notes that all registration fees and donations will be matched until the goal is met. The match will come from Knox and his physics faculty colleagues Richard Scalettar and David Wittman.

The eighth annual Running of the Turkeys, a 5K run and walk, is set for Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 24, in Woodland. Start time is 8 a.m. Registration fees: $38 adults and $18 ages 6-17 through Nov. 21, or $42 and $20 Nov. 23 and 24 — T-shirts included. No charge for ages 5 and under.

The registration page is here. To join The Running Coupling Constants, click on “Team” in the index on the left-hand side of the page, then scroll or search. If you're donating to the overall fundraising effort, you can trigger The Running Coupling Constants match by donating through the team’s fundraising page.

Contact Knox by email with questions, or if you’re interested in starting your own team.

(Now, for the physics part of this story: A coupling constant is a parameter that controls the strength of fundamental interactions. “There’s something in physics called ‘running of coupling constants,’ which refers to the fact that their apparent value changes depending on how you are measuring them,” Knox said. “So, it was pretty obvious choice for the team name!”)

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