Alumni Report

Food Rivalry Helps Utah Families


Last fall, BYU and the University of Utah put on their boxing gloves—not to battle it out in a ring but to fight hunger, together. The friendly food-drive competition culminated Nov. 22 at the BYU-Utah football game.

During the annual BYU-Utah food-drive competition, the BYU Bookstore sold Y-cards to raise money. The donations helped deliver more than $500,000 in food to a local food bank.

During the annual BYU-Utah food-drive competition, the BYU Bookstore sold Y-cards to raise money. The donations helped deliver more than $500,000 in food to a local food bank. Photo by Stuart Johnson/ Deseret Morning News.

BYU’s food drive generated resources valued at more than a half a million dollars for the United Way Timpanogos Regional Food Bank. The University of Utah posted similar results.

Although the alumni associations of both universities have engaged in this friendly rivalry since the early 1990s, this was the first time their resources focused primarily on money. “After the United Way of Utah County told us a $5 donation was worth approximately $130 worth of food, we decided to put a greater emphasis on cash,” says Todd J. Hendricks, ’00, the program’s administrator. Hendricks explains that food producers will sometimes donate large amounts of food, conditional on the food bank providing transportation. Thus, a moderate donation of money can transport to Provo a much greater amount of food.

“In 2002 we gathered $1,400, but in 2003 the figure was 14 times that amount. I’m excited that the $19,519 raised this year translated into $509,054 worth of food,” says Hendricks. In addition to monetary donations, BYU’s drive collected 24,936 pounds of food.

New partners joined the 2003 drive, most notably the BYU Bookstore, which sold about 7,000 Y-cards for $1 each. “The bookstore cashiers politely asked if patrons would like to add $1 to their purchase to support the food bank. The purchased Y-cards were then displayed in the store,” Hendricks says.

“So many students donated dollars that we ran out of available wall space for the cards,” says Roger L. Reynolds, ’73, the bookstore director. “We joked we would have to start plastering them on our employees. This was one of the more fun and rewarding campaigns we have done with the university, and we’re especially pleased because it was a student campaign. I hope we can do it again next year.”

The Y-cards at the bookstore were cost effective and generated a lot of results, and according to a front-page Daily Universe article, they offered convenience that allowed more students to donate. Michael E. Wilson, ’04, from Cheyenne, Wyo., told the Universe what planners had assumed: “For me personally it’s much easier to pay a dollar to the bookstore than to go to the grocery store, buy a can, and then bring the can to campus.”

“Working with the BYU Bookstore proved invaluable for the drive,” Hendricks says.

Other on-campus partners included the BYU Black Student Union, the Latin American Student Association, and the BYU Student Dietetic Association. Off-campus partners were Novell, Smith’s, Aero Technologies, Krispy Kreme, and FatCats.

“People are looking for ways to make a contribution, and this drive gives many volunteers a way to help,” Hendricks says. “This is also a way to direct a traditional rivalry into something positive. And, of course, most important, it provides thousands of meals for needy families.”