The Iron Bowl is not just for the football field, the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger food drive and the Beat Bama Food Drive provide a hands-on way for students and the community to participate in a less physical version of the Iron Bowl.
This competitive food drive started in 1994 and has a history of 13 Auburn and 10 Alabama wins.
Number of wins isn’t the only difference between these two drives. While both drives strive to donate as many pounds of food as they can, each school structures their drive differently.
“We have six exec members, so we have a president and then five vice presidents of different sectors. And then under the vice presidents they have approximately four to six staff members,” said Sarah English, president of the Beat Bama Food Drive.
As for Alabama’s food drive there are the executive members followed by directors that are broken up throughout the organization Executive Director of Beat Auburn Beat Hunger Food Drive Courtney Charland said.
The first few weeks of the drive are crucial to ensure it gets off to a good start.
“At the very beginning of the fall semester, we start going and those first few weeks were out on the concourse every Wednesday. We’re reaching out to alumni clubs, trying to get them to donate,” English said.
The University of Alabama’s fall semester a little differently. “Alabama doesn’t have anything similar to that [the Concourse],” Charland said. “We rely on speaking in classes and events on campus to really get the word out.”
Beat Auburn Beat Hunger relies heavily on volunteers while the Beat Bama Food Drive has a strike hierarchy with applications and an interview process for each position within the organization. Each organization also runs different programs within their communities, including alumni and the local community to get donations.
People from throughout Tuscaloosa and the alumni of the University of Alabama come together to help with the food drive, Charland said.
“The people within alumni networks, and the community and campus really come together for this cause,” She said. “We utilize this platform to really unite people. But I think that people are uniting behind this cause to help their local food bank.”
Charland continues to look forward to drives in the future with ideas to unite the Greek communities at Auburn and Alabama.
“I’d love to see some of our chapters compete against each other. Like the Alabama chapter of a sorority or fraternity competing against that Auburn chapter. I think that would really get students excited and it is in the works for the future,” Charland said.
Charland said the neighborhood drive was one of the biggest parts of collection. Around 3,000 to 4,000 houses in the community receive paper bags with a flyer attached telling the most needed items an the dates and time of pick-up. The response from the Auburn community astounded her. “It’s incredible to see that almost every neighborhood has plenty of bags out, filled with food,” English said.
The local elementary schools also play a big role in the community’s help with the drive. English said the schools hold competitions amongst themselves that everyone seems to get really into.
Both food drives involve the entire campus, community and alumni base to ensure a successful food drive. While this competition is a great way to keep up the rivalry and get excited for the game, it is important to remember it is about helping the food banks and that is best done together Charland said, “It’s definitely a partnership. We really do support each other’s efforts.”