In about three weeks, one of the best rivalries and college sporting events in the nation will take place right here in Alabama: The Iron Bowl.
For decades, fans of the University of Alabama and Auburn University have come together to celebrate this great tradition and to cheer on their team. In a good-natured way, this historic event often pits neighbor against neighbor, co-worker against co-worker, and sometimes even spouse against spouse. On November 25th, when kick-off rolls around, every Alabamian will be called upon to pick a side – Tide or Tigers.
For whatever reason, each of us has our team.
Maybe we pick a team because we went to school there, or maybe we pick a side because we remember our parents taking us for walks around the campus. Maybe we pick the Tide because of our fond memories of a larger-than-life coach in his iconic, houndstooth hat roaming the sidelines. Or, perhaps we yell “War Eagle” because of our connection to gridiron greats like Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton.
Each of us have a reason behind which team we will be pulling for in the Iron Bowl, but there is one cause we all can unite around – fighting hunger in Alabama.
According to VOICES for Alabama’s Children, 24 percent of children in our state faced food insecurity in 2015, meaning they were not always sure where their next meal would come from. Alabama is consistently one of the highest giving states in the nation when it comes to supporting the work of charities and non-profits. As we move toward the Thanksgiving season and the Iron Bowl, we have an opportunity to once again show our generosity by coming together to meet the hunger need head-on.
For years, through the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger or the Beat Bama Beat Hunger food drives, the University of Alabama and Auburn University have put aside their rivalries to stand united in raising awareness and donations for those who might be in need of food in our state. This fantastic program underscores that all of us, regardless of our Saturday afternoon allegiances, have more in common than what divides us.
In 2016, these two great college campuses donated 396,044 pounds of food to food banks across Alabama. Can you imagine how much more could be given this year if every Alabamian joined this effort and gave just a few can goods to support their school of choice?
College rivalries in Alabama are second to none, but our willingness to help our fellow citizens in need is just as important to who we are as a state. This year’s Beat Bama/Beat Auburn food drive runs through November 15th, and I hope you will join me in donating to your school of choice, or to your local food bank. You can learn more by visiting http://beatauburnbeathunger.sa.ua.edu or http://beatbamafooddrive.com.
In just a few short weeks, the battle lines will be drawn and the eyes of the world will converge on Auburn for the annual Iron Bowl. As Alabama and Auburn battle it out on the football field, fans will cheer on their team of choice and hope for victory; but, until then, let’s cast aside our labels and join together as part of one team. When we unite to beat hunger in Alabama, no one loses, and we all win. To beat hunger, we must all be on the same team.
Hunger in Alabama is beatable, because #TogetherWeCan.
Kay Ivey is the 54th and current Governor of Alabama since April 2017. Ivey, a member of the Republican Party, served as the 38th Alabama State Treasurer from 2003 to 2011, and later became the 30th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, serving from January 2011 until April 2017.