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Community wins in annual BYU/U of U food fight

More than 63 tons donated to local food pantries

Hundreds of generous donors must have followed the saying, “Give ‘til it hurts,” because Brigham Young University students and the local community donated a remarkable 63.12 tons of food and bought nearly $14,000 worth of “Y” marks credited to BYU in the annual food fight rivalry between the University of Utah and BYU.

This is five times the amount collected in 2004 and a 40 percent increase in “Y” marks.

This means the depleted food bank larders are being replenished, and more money is expected to add to the total when one of the sponsors, Del Taco, releases its figures for marks it sold for the “Y” and the “U.” A mark is a card with the school’s logo that is purchased for a dollar. (From every dollar raised, the food banks are able to purchase $13 worth of food. This makes the 14,000 marks worth $182,000.)

The University of Utah has not yet calculated its success, but the real winner is the community. All BYU donations received have gone directly to the United Way of Utah County and the Community Action Food Bank to help feed thousands of needy Utahns this holiday season.

“I was absolutely blown away,” says Troy Simpson, who administrated the program for the BYU Alumni Association. “I am so touched the people opened up their wallets, their cupboards and their hearts to be so generous.”

The two week-long food drive culminated with the BYU/U of U football game Nov 19, and the days leading to the game were filled with many events and activities that helped highlight the enthusiasm that the two student bodies had for the food drive.

Students gathered cans door-to-door to replenish the heavily exhausted food banks. To make sure the food banks' shelves remain full this holiday season, faculty and students organized a campus competition and a noon-day activity to increase awareness of and donations for the food drive.

The faculty at BYU’s Marriott School of Management and Communications Department organized a competition and challenged every BYU department, college, club or association to donate food. Those two schools collected 5,439 pounds to come in first place, and Campus Life gathered 3,625 to come in second. Other colleges and clubs produced 8,316 additional pounds for the campus portion of the drive.

The BYU athletics department helped make a difference by participating in a noon-time activity at BYU’s Brigham Square Nov. 14. The event featured the appearance of football players, basketball players, cheerleaders and the university’s mascot, Cosmo. The players encouraged students to donate food to help those less fortunate this holiday season.

The activity also featured a quarterback challenge where the winner, Aaron Robinson, a senior in exercise science from Fullerton, Calif., was awarded an autographed “Y” mark from BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall. Participants had been challenged to throw a football through three separate tire targets.

Articles were placed in area newspapers that helped educate the public about the food drive. There was also a commercial filmed and aired by Z24 television that included the appearance of both universities’ head football coaches encouraging fans to donate.

Both schools are grateful to many organizations and volunteers who have helped the make the 2005 food drive one of the most successful food fights since this tradition began 13 years ago.

Writer: Troy Simpson

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