The annual Beat Bama Food Drive is well underway, but Auburn fans still have time to collect and donate canned goods and packaged food.

“The mission of Beat Bama Food Drive is to act on our belief in the basic human rights of adequate nutrition, by providing ongoing support to the Food Bank of east Alabama through raising awareness, educating a unified Auburn community, creating fundraising opportunities and collecting donations to actively fight food insecurity in East Alabama,” said the Beat Bama Food Drive website.

Drive launched Oct. 1

The Beat Bama Food drive, which launched Oct. 1, is a competition against the University of Alabama, with whoever collects more donations winning.

“The sky seems to be the limit when Auburn people get to work,” said Ashlyn Payne, the Beat Bama Food Drive president, on its website. “Many people today are so focused on global issues, which is great, but somewhere along the way, hardship at home is often overlooked.

“It’s heartbreaking to think that a mother in our area may not be able to do something as simple as feed her child. The Auburn Family has (ample) resources to step in and help to end the stress and struggle many families in Lee County face.”

Last year’s Beat Bama Food Drive resulted in Auburn bringing in 255,916 pounds of food and Alabama providing 309,194 pounds, for over 565,000 total.

Helps Food Bank of East Alabama

Not only does the drive accept food donations, but monetary donations. The drive helps support the Food Bank of East Alabama.

The Food Bank of East Alabama works differently than a food pantry. Rather than individuals in need coming directly to the location, the Food Bank of East Alabama collects and distributes to other groups.

“We are distributing an average of 430,000 pounds of food a month to these agencies in a seven-county service area,” said Martha Henk, director of the Food Bank of East Alabama.

This drive is the biggest of the year for the food bank, she said.

“There are more than 67,000 people in east-central Alabama that are considered food insecure,” Henk said. “One out of every 5 of people living in Alabama lack(s) a reliable source of food. And you know that can be just really overwhelming because, really, how can you make a difference with that kind of need?”

“But, if you break it down and say, ‘Well, my family can help one other family,’ and if I do that and if you do that, if each one of us does that, we really can make a real difference.”

There are 45 on-campus drop-off locations for food items, including areas like the Quad dorms, Foy Hall and the Alumni Center.

The off-campus location drop-offs include Kroger in Tiger Town, Earth Fare in Auburn, the Marriott Hotel in Opelika, Kroger in Lanett, the Winn-Dixie on South College Street or the Food Bank of East Alabama.

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