FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas student-athletes are reaching out to assist those in need in Northwest Arkansas through the Southeastern Conference’s "Together We CAN" program.
The University of Arkansas’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is partnering with SAAC representatives from around the SEC to conduct the third-annual league-wide food drive from Sept. 18-27. All 12 SEC institutions are participating by collecting food and financial donations at various sporting events, community locations and on campuses.
During last year’s food drive, the program raised more than 150,000 pounds of food and donations that benefited local food banks and shelters. Arkansas individually collected around 10,000 pounds, and is aiming to double last year’s donations.
"We are proud that through the leadership of SAAC, our student-athletes are once again taking an active role in the Together We Can program," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "Our student-athletes continue to embrace the opportunity to reach out to the community and make a difference. I would encourage all Razorback fans to join us in helping provide food to those in our community in need."
Arkansas ranks in the top 10 with the number of children living in poverty, and research indicates that one in five children are not adequately fed. The "Together we CAN" food drive combined with the commitment of Arkansas fans to create change has allowed the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank to greatly increase the amount of food available to the hungry and expand its outreach to all of Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties.
The Razorbacks kick-off the campaign for "Together We CAN" at Saturday’s football game against Georgia. Student-athletes from all 19 sports are collecting donations at all corners of the stadium including gates 1, 8, 14 and 16 of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The proceeds of the drive will be donated to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, benefitting over 150 different agencies in the area. Drop boxes for canned goods and non-perishable food items will be located at several sites on campus during the collection period, including all Fayetteville Harp’s locations. Donations can be made at the Razorback volleyball match Sunday, Sept. 20, when Arkansas hosts Florida. Fans are encouraged to bring donations to the Razorbacks’ home soccer matches Friday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 27, when Arkansas hosts Georgia and Tennessee, respectively.
Additionally, Razorback student-athletes will serve as "celebrity" baggers at all four Fayetteville Harps, Inc. locations Sat., Sept. 26, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Jane Gearhart, wife of Chancellor G. David Gearhart, is also promoting campus awareness of this project with the help of Tyson Foods, Inc. Tyson Foods, Inc. has agreed to match what the Razorback student-athletes collect, up to 60,000 pounds.
During the designated timeframe, each campus SAAC will play a primary role in organizing and carrying out a canned food and financial donation drive at its institution. At the conclusion of the drive, the SEC will announce the 12-school total of donations collected and highlight the work done by the student-athletes of the SEC.
The SEC SAAC is comprised of two student-athletes from each institution. The SAAC was established in 1992 to serve as a medium of communication through which student-athletes, conference administrators, institutional representatives and coaches discuss and take action on issues relating to rules governance, student-athlete welfare and community service.