Despite Auburn's football loss to the University of Alabama, the 30th Annual Beat Bama Food Drive emerged triumphant, achieving a new record by raising 686,807 pounds of food for the Food Bank of East Alabama. This marks BBFD's 15th victory.
In contrast, the University of Alabama's food drive, Beat Auburn Beat Hunger, managed to collect 326,644 pounds of food for the West Alabama Food Bank. Together, the universities achieved a combined total of over 1 million pounds of food to fight food insecurity.
Last year, BBFD fell short, trailing BABH by approximately 15,000 pounds and raising 550,117 pounds of food. This loss fueled BBFD to clinch a victory this year. The drive, characterized by its friendly competition, motivates both schools to contribute their best efforts to fight food insecurity across the state.
Justin King, president of BBFD and senior in law and justice, attributed the success of BBFD to the collective efforts of the Auburn community.
“The drive was really earned this year, every dollar raised, every physical pound, it was really a team effort, ” King said. “People [were] stepping up, going above and beyond and really having a passion for service.”
BBFD's success was bolstered by its largest student committee ever, with almost 650 individuals actively involved. These members played a pivotal role in ensuring the drive's triumph and had the most members ever reach their fundraising goal.
Various initiatives contributed to BBFD's success. Among these, neighborhood drives proved particularly impactful, resulting in an impressive 30,000 pounds of food raised, including a remarkable 10,000 pounds in just one night. Additional efforts such as the inaugural BBFD 5k run, benefit nights and widespread community support all played crucial roles in the drive's victory.
“My personal favorite is 'Save, Shave, or Dye,'” said Lily Bradford, vice president of campus relations for BBFD and junior in accountancy and business analytics. “It is one of our biggest traditions, where the boys on the executive board get people to donate money to decide if they save, shave or dye their hair.”
As King transitions out of BBFD in February, a new executive board and staff will take the reins. The committee's next challenge will take place in the spring as they begin fundraising for the SEC Food Fight — a competition between all SEC schools to raise food for campus food pantries.
Bradford proudly noted that Auburn has been the reigning champions of SEC Food Fight for the past three years and aims to secure a fourth victory.
Following this, the committee will commence preparations for BBFD’s 31st drive, ensuring a continued legacy of community engagement and impactful contributions to alleviating food insecurity.
“We are looking at the next 30 years of BBFD and how we can grow,” Bradford said.
Both King and Bradford, who have been members of BBFD since their freshman year, have witnessed the drive's evolution and growth.
The record-breaking success of the 30th Annual Beat Bama Food Drive extends beyond a numerical record — it demonstrates the impact a collective effort can have in making a significant difference in the fight against food insecurity.
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