Auburn University and University of Oregon team up for food bank service project

AUBURN, AL and EUGENE, OR – Prior to competing in the BCS championship game, Auburn University and the University of Oregon will team up for a community service project at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix, the world’s first food bank, to show support for the local Phoenix and Glendale communities.

On Sunday, Jan. 9, from 8:45 a.m. to noon, approximately 200 Auburn and Oregon representatives, including the university presidents, students, alumni, family members and fans, will sort donated food and pack emergency food boxes on an assembly line at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, 2831 N. 31st Ave., in Phoenix.

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance serves two-thirds of Arizona’s 15 counties. The food bank distributed more than 72 million pounds of food in Fiscal Year 2009-10, which provided nearly 300,000 meals per day.

“This type of event is close to the hearts of Auburn students, who have set up the university model nationally with the War on Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme,” said Jay Gogue, Auburn University president. “To help the first food bank in another part of the nation will be a privilege for all of us.”

“It’s a pleasure to be able to contribute in this way to the community that is hosting us,” said University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere. “It demonstrates a sense of good sportsmanship among fans of both teams to come together to help those who are in need of these services.”

Volunteers must be 12 years old or older to participate. Those interested should contact lfortin@uoregon.edu for a registration form. Volunteers will receive a t-shirt designed for the event.

There is a strong history of service at both universities. Oregon’s Holden Leadership Center organized the event and invited Auburn to participate. The Holden Leadership Center was started in 2005 to provide leadership and service opportunities to students at Oregon. According to Lisa Fortin, assistant director, the service project in conjunction with the national championship game is aligned to the group’s mission.

“This project fits the mission of the Holden Leadership Center because it provides students and alumni the opportunity to go out and make a positive difference in the community,” said Fortin. “Service makes our students think about the challenges faced by those families who are less fortunate than we are and reflect on the issues that cause poverty.”

In November of 2010, Auburn’s Student Government Association led the community in donating more than 240,000 pounds of food for the East Alabama Food Bank to win the annual “Beat Bama” food drive prior to the Iron Bowl game against the University of Alabama. Together, the two school schools collected nearly a half million pounds of food.

Auburn students also fight hunger globally. Auburn was chosen in 2004 by the U.N.’s World Food Programme to launch Universities Fighting World Hunger, the first student-led effort in the War on Hunger. The student Committee of 19 leads the effort on campus and in the community. The number 19 represents the 19 cents per day that it takes the World Food Programme to feed a hungry child in the developing world. With Auburn’s College of Human Sciences spearheading the effort, more than 100 universities have mobilized nationally and globally under the banner of Universities Fighting World Hunger.

On-site contacts: Deedie Dowdle, Auburn University, (334) 707-0545 (mobile), and
Phil Weiler, University of Oregon, (541) 968-3767 (mobile)