By: Kate MendelsohnArkansas Media RelationsSpectators and tailgaters at the University of Arkansas have made a longstanding commitment to combat hunger and feed hope. All across the nation, there are 35,000,000 Americans at risk of hunger. The Arkansas’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is partnering with the Southeastern Conference to lead the combat against hunger with a league wide canned food drive which runs Sept. 18-27.
The Razorbacks kick-off the campaign for “Together we Can” at today’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.Rodger Hunter, Student Life Coordinator for the Razorback Athletic Department has been a part of the Together We Can program from its inception and every year he is amazed by the overwhelming generosity of Arkansans to help one another during hard times.“I am so inspired by the generosity of the public and the members of SAAC,” Hunter said. “It feels really good to be part of a group that is working hard to close the hunger gap in Northwest Arkansas.”
Since collaborating with the Together We Can program the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank was able to provide food on the table for more than 800,000 families in the four-county area. The state’s greatest resource is the people and the Razorbacks are proud of the support received from so many individuals, families and companies who have made donations to help those less fortunate. The success of “Together We Can” is a reflection of the generosity we have to come to expect from our neighbors who understand the importance of giving back to their communities and the spirit of service is in the heart of every Arkansas fan. 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.
Last year the SEC collected a combined total of 40,000 pounds of donated food. Arkansas individually collected around 10,000 pounds, and is aiming to double last year’s donations. “The food bank’s numbers are down and we are asking for your help more than ever before.” Assistant Athletic Director for Student Life Marvin Caston said. “We need the help of our students and community so that we can make our goal. Giving a little makes a big difference.”
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 nonperishable foods 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 this 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.