17:09 PM

Ohio State versus Penn State challenge works to tackle hunger on campus

Before the two teams face off on the football field, The Ohio State University and Penn State will compete off the field in a friendly competition to raise money for campus food pantries.

The Tackle Hunger Ohio State versus Penn State Giving Challenge is a head-to-head competition between the two universities, and the winner will be the school to capture the highest number of gifts made to support their respective campus food pantries. The contest runs from midnight on Sunday, Nov. 17, through 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23.

“Buckeye fans are known for their passion for their football team, but they are also known for their generosity. The Ohio State versus Penn State Giving Challenge is a great opportunity to celebrate both of those traits,” Ohio State Alumni Association President and CEO Jim Smith said. “Food insecurity is a real issue at Ohio State and campuses across the country and the Tackle Hunger Giving Challenge allows us to raise awareness around this critical issue.”

More than a third of college students nationwide say they don’t get enough to eat, according to a 2018 national survey across multiple universities. A 2014 Ohio State survey found that 15 percent of students have a “very low level of food security.”

Gifts made to the Student Food Pantry Fund will be directed to the Buckeye Food Alliance and the Office of Student Life to support food pantries across campus where student need is greatest. Gifts will help to stock pantries with food and other basic need items like toiletries and paper products.

Buckeye Food Alliance operates one pantry in Lincoln Tower and plans to open a second location at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

“When students are hungry it can be hard for them to focus on the classroom and hard for them to be the best student they can be,” Nick Fowler, Buckeye Food Alliance coordinator, said.

Fowler said even small donations during the challenge will go a long way. The organization partners with the Mid-Ohio Food Bank to make every dollar count and a $5 donation can purchase up to 25 meals.

“A lot of our students are one flat tire, an illness or a small financial emergency away from experiencing food insecurity,” he said.

More information about the Tackle Hunger Giving Challenge can be found at give.osu.edu/tacklehunger, and once the challenge goes live, gifts may be made through the event website or by texting BEATPSU to 71777.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, the challenge is a chance to rally alumni and friends around the issue of student food insecurity. It’s also an opportunity for Buckeye fans to earn bragging rights before the showdown between the two teams next week.

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