Feeding South Dakota was the big winner in a weeklong competition that matched fans of the state’s two NCAA Division I universities in a food drive.
The South Dakota Showdown Series Food Drive raised more than 17 tons of food for the state’s largest hunger-relief organization. South Dakota State University fans donated 18,747 pounds of food and University of South Dakota supporters donated 16,613 pounds. The food will provide 29,467 meals.
“Everyone is a winner as this food will go a long way toward feeding hungry individuals and families during the holiday season,” said Matt Gassen, Feeding South Dakota’s executive director. “We’re so grateful to our partners in this drive and to the fans for their impressive generosity.”
The food drive was a partnership involving Coyote Sports Properties, Jackrabbit Sports Properties, Hy-Vee, Feeding South Dakota and South Dakota Corn, which sponsors the Showdown Series. Feeding South Dakota has been an important partner since the athletic and academic challenge between USD and SDSU was launched a year ago.
Throughout the week, fans deposited food in barrels at nine Hy-Vee grocery stores in Sioux Falls, Brookings and Vermillion. Cash donations also were accepted during Saturday’s Showdown Series football game.
“It was a good-natured competition, and fans from both schools had a lot of fun trying to beat their rivals, but the real winner is Feeding South Dakota,” said Teddi Mueller, industry affairs director for the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council. “It was nice to see the outpouring of support South Dakotans have for each other.”
Food will be distributed locally through food banks and pantries. Items that were collected at Brookings and Vermillion Hy-Vees will be given out through food pantries operated by local churches in those communities.
The drive concluded after Saturday’s football game between the Jackrabbits and Coyotes.