Ottawa, Baker battle in annual food drive

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Ottawa, Baker battle in annual food drive

Story by Tera Lyons

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The beginning of the Baker University football season not only brings the rivalry game against Ottawa University, but the annual non-perishable food drive, Tackling Hunger.

This is a competition between Baker and Ottawa students that has been going on for the last few years, with the prize of honor and bragging rights. It’s a competition Baker has yet to win.

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This year, Baker has a new strategy by getting the School of Professional and Graduate Studies involved.

“I think getting SPGS involved is really important because we can’t do it all at (College of Arts and Sciences) alone,” Dean of Students Cassy Bailey said. “We’re a small campus, so we are getting more of the community involved. That’s what we figured out Ottawa was doing.”

SPGS partnered with the Graduate School of Education for a weeklong competition with a final count of 831 non-perishable goods. The school and faculty were broken into two teams and everyone that brought in an item received a special prize.

“Employees and students could bring in an item to wear jeans,” Brian Messer, dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies, said. “People brought in more than we expected.”

The football game against Ottawa on Saturday will mark the ending of the competition for the Baldwin City campus.

“We thought it was a great year to really take the competition seriously and also assist with our neighborhood food bank,” Bailey said. “The need right now is at the highest it’s been and especially this time of year when people are taxed with buying books for their kids and clothes to go back to school … This is a time when there needs to be supplemental help.”

Sophomore Alex Baird has been working in the Student Affairs Office and his job this summer included taking the collected items to the local food bank and designing a brochure for the event.

“I felt like it was a large increase from last year,” Baird said, “A lot more people knew about it and contributed.”

To donate, students can bring items to locations including Harter Union and in the Student Affairs Office. Students can also donate on Saturday at Liston Stadium, where members of Baker Serves will be collecting.

In the last few years, Ottawa has beaten Baker by nearly a thousand items, but this year over 900 have already been collected.

“We have a good chance,” Bailey said. “It will be great when they announce it. It will be totally a shock.”