Janet McCoy (email@example.com)
AU/UA RIVALRY TAKES ON NEW MEANING WITH 'FOOD FIGHT'
AUBURN --The annual intrastate football rivalry between the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide has taken on a new meaning this year with an off the-field "food fight."
The East Alabama Food Bank in Auburn and the West Alabama Food Bank in Tuscaloosa are sponsoring a competition to bring fans from each university together to collect food for the needy, says Martha Faupel, director of the East Alabama Food Bank.
Beginning Monday, Nov. 3, AU faculty, staff, administrators, students and fans can start donating canned food items at several locations on campus and in town.
"This is the third year of this program and Auburn has lost the competition the past two years," Faupel said. "But this year we are better prepared and we plan to give Alabama a good fight."
The winner of the competition is announced at halftime of the AU/UA football game, and a trophy is awarded.
Faupel is working with AU student David Roden of Albertville, a junior majoring in pre-med/biomedical sciences, who with a team of students is coordinating collection activities on campus.
"I was looking to do some community service and I found out about this through a friend of mine," Roden said. That high school friend -- Jeremy Hilsman -- coordinates the drive at the Alabama.
"Last year, Alabama donated 5,500 pounds of food, and we only collected something like 500 pounds," Roden said. "This year we are putting more planning and effort into the competition. This is a serious competition, but it is fun. "
Roden says several activities have been planned in the next few weeks to alert AU students, employees and fans, including publicizing the drive on the Auburn Network and handing out flyers to tailgaters during home games -- both culminating with a ma jor collection on Nov. 16, the day of the AU-Georgia game.
"We really want Auburn fans to get involved and bring a canned food with
them to the Georgia game and donate it before they go into the stadium.
On game day, plans are in the works to place collection sites around campus as well as parking the East Alabama Food Bank van near the Eagle's Cage.
"In addition, collection bins will be located around campus and in the community," he said. Community collection sites include all local grocery stores, the Auburn Public Library and the food bank, located on Tichenor Avenue in the old Post Office.
On the AU concourse, Roden and his group plan to build a structure out of food cans as a reminder to give. "We haven't quite decided on a shape year, but it will be highly visible."
Also planned is a display of a large gauge for both Auburn and Alabama to show students which team is ahead. "Our idea is to fill up the word 'hunger' and by seeing which university is doing better, we hope it will spur Auburn students to give."
Faupel says one reason for the competition is that as colder weather and the holidays approach, food supplies dwindle.
"At this time of year, the demand for food increases at food banks," she says. "But as you get closer to the end of the year, corporate donations decrease because budgets are getting tight. This is when the food banks have to rely more on individual 's donations."
Especially needed this time of year is peanut butter, rice, any canned meat, dried beans and canned beans. "We can use anything non perishable," she said.
"We can beat Alabama and help feed the hungry in Lee and surrounding counties."
CONTACT: Faupel, 821-9006; and Roden, 821-5907.