Each year Auburn University and the University of Alabama put aside their differences and come together to collect food for those struggling with food insecurity.
516,611 pounds. The Beat Bama Food Drive put in astounding effort in nearly doubling their numbers from last year. On Nov. 18 at the Food Bank of East Alabama, committee members and people in the community gathered to see the final numbers.
The energy at the reveal was electric. Combining Auburn’s total with the University of Alabama’s total, more than one million pounds of food will be donated across the state of Alabama. Even though it is a competition, everybody wins regardless of what the numbers are.
Paige Hall, president of BBFD, has been a part of the organization for three years and said, “Honestly this is one of the best experiences I’ve had at Auburn, it’s so rewarding getting to see students put their hearts towards the cause and the outcome of said cause and I think it’s just absolutely awesome to see the impact we can make.”
The annual Beat Bama Food Drive begins in October and ends in late November, but preparations for the event start as early as March. Hall said, “Getting donations and people involved requires so much planning that the executive board plans events and starts making connections in the community in March.”
The Food Bank of East Alabama takes care of all the distribution. BBFD raised money and collected food for them, and the food bank distributes it to those who struggle with food insecurity.
“Beat Bama Food Drive has been one of my absolute favorite experiences at Auburn. It is so incredibly impactful to see the amount we can raise for those in it," Hall said. "To anyone who is thinking of joining, I say do it. It has been one of my favorite things I have ever done.”
“My role is to reach out the community, so we do a lot of neighborhood drives and grocery store days," Vice president of community relations,Clay Gibson said ."We will set up a table outside of Kroger and spread the word and explain to people what BBFD is and accept donations there. We also partner with schools and churches in the community.”
One donation by many people creates a huge reward, proving that one person can make an impact.
Gibson said, “The connection we feel to it and getting to see how much of a tangible impact that we had is so incredible.”
More than 500 students applied to be a part of BBFD and around 300 applicants got accepted. Among those are freshmen Mikella Anderson, Blake Smith and Michael Morais. As a non-executive members, they volunteered two hours per week at various locations such as the stands outside of Kroger.
They all said they would absolutely do it again and there is no way they could not be a part of it.
Patrick George, coordinator of leadership programs of Auburn Student Involvement, said, “They are extremely good at their job, it is something in their hearts. The energy behind this, the time they spend on it and the results of getting this community to come together like this is something I’ve never seen before. These students put in hours and hours of work, and it is amazing to see. I am impressed and inspired.”
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Bri Johnson, sophomore in journalism, is a news writer at The Plainsman.