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Since 1994, the Beat Bama Food Drive and the Food Bank of East Alabama have united students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to help fight hunger and food insecurity in East Alabama by challenging the University of Alabama and the Food Bank of West Alabama to an annual competition collecting non-perishable food for those in need. The good-natured competition has made an impact that reaches far beyond the campuses where it began.

In the last 23 years, 5.5 million pounds of food have been collected to feed families around the state. 

“Nearly one in five Alabama residents, or 18.6 percent of the state, are considered food insecure,” said Martha Henk, executive director of the Food Bank of East Alabama. “The Food Bank of East Alabama serves seven counties in east central Alabama. The average food insecurity rate in this area is approximately 70,210 people, with 20,080 of those being children.”

Sarah English, president of Beat Bama Food Drive, said the annual competition has given her a sense of community. 

“This competition is so important and necessary because there is an alarming number of people who are food insecure not only in our state, but also in our local area,” said English. “It is so humbling to see a group of students who come together from all walks of life to unite for one goal and that is to fight food insecurity in our area. Every individual in this organization has a heart full of compassion and a drive to serve Auburn and the surrounding area.”

The drive will conclude on Nov. 15, and a winner will be announced. 

Last year, Auburn won the competition with 245,722 pounds of food collected. 

Non-perishable food items may be donated at any of the collection barrels on campus or throughout the Auburn community. Monetary donations can be given at the Beat Bama Food Drive website.