A fierce but friendly rivalry is the driving force behind one of FeedMore’s most successful food-and-fundraisers: The Hokies vs. ‘Hoos Food Fight presented by MARTIN’S. Now in its twelfth year, the Food Fight pits alumni and friends of Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia against each other to see which team can raise the most food and funds for FeedMore.
The UVA Club of Richmond and the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association coordinate the competition, which the Hokies won the past three years. The ‘Hoos fought back this year, though, holding a lead through the entire 3-week long competition that is as much a battle against hunger in Central Virginia as a battle between the two teams.
The final score of the 2016 Food Fight: ‘Hoos: 43,123 points; Hokies: 40,964 points.
“The ‘Hoos came out swinging this year, really pushing online and in-store donations as well donations at our basketball game watching parties,” said Katherine Keogh, Cavs Care co-chair for the UVA Club of Richmond. “It’s been moving to see such ongoing support for FeedMore among both fan bases, and it’s especially sweet for the ‘Hoos to get the win this year.” The series is now tied at six each.
Each $1 donated is worth five points, while nonperishable food items are worth one point. Donations were collected online at hokiesvshoos.com as well as in local MARTIN’S stores. The Food Fight’s title sponsor, MARTIN’S collected $3,863.15 in monetary donations at cash registers as well as 17,707 food items in local stores. The Laburnum MARTIN’S store, led by manager Kristy Monk, collected 3,234 food items – more than any other store. For that reason, it was selected as the location for the final score announcement on Wednesday.
One component of the competition that was missing this year: the Food Fight’s volunteer event at FeedMore. A tornado warning threatened Richmond the evening the event was scheduled, causing the building to evacuate. The Hokies and ‘Hoos could’ve earned 150 points each by helping pack bags for FeedMore’s weekend BackPack program, which provides chronically hungry children with nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals so these young boys and girls have food over the weekend and return to school on Monday ready to learn.
“Volunteering at FeedMore is a chance for the ‘Hoos and Hokies to work together and see how our efforts benefit the community, so we were very disappointed the event was cancelled, but look forward to lending a helping hand at FeedMore sometime soon,” said Vernon Wildy, Jr., who coordinates the Food Fight for the Hokies. The UVA Club of Richmond and the Virginia Tech Alumni Association are working with FeedMore to schedule another volunteer event this spring.
James River High school has long been a powerhouse in the Food Fight’s competition among local high schools that collect donations. This year James River students, teachers and administration collected more than ever: $1470 in monetary donations and 7,538 food items. The Hokies and ‘Hoos are so grateful for the support at the high school level, and the extraordinary efforts of James River High School in particular. Education is an underlying theme of the Food Fight, an initiative that aims to make a difference in the lives of schoolchildren in need of nutrition to stay focused in the classroom.
“What makes our community of supporters special and truly unique is the fact that two intense rivals come together to make an impact and help the greater good,” says Tim McDermott, Chief Development Officer at FeedMore and proud Hokie. “We are humbled by the support of University of Virginia and Virginia Tech alumni throughout our region over the past twelve years and are very thankful for their continuing dedication to our mission.”
About FeedMore FeedMore is Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization comprised of programs like the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, the Mobile Pantry and Kids Cafe. Spanning nearly one-third of the state, across 34 counties and cities, FeedMore serves more than 200,000 individuals in the region’s most vulnerable populations – children, families and seniors. Working together to efficiently and effectively fight hunger, FeedMore’s multi-tiered approach and comprehensive programs are dedicated to nourishing the community while empowering lives. For additional information, please visit FeedMore.org, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.