BOZEMAN — The annual Can the Griz food drive, an off-the-field competition between Montana State University and the University of Montana to see which school can collect the most donations for its local food bank, will be held Nov. 4 through Nov. 18. The friendly battle is now in its 24th year.
The drive begins Saturday, Nov. 4, and concludes at the end of the first quarter of the annual Brawl of the Wild football game between MSU and UM on Saturday, Nov. 18. The winner will be announced during the game on Nov. 18 and on Can the Griz social media accounts (listed below) and on the competition’s website.
“This important annual food drive lets Montana State University and the Bobcat community use our long-standing football rivalry with that campus to the west to benefit our neighbors,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “The money we raise and the food we donate does a tremendous amount of good for individuals and families in need in our community. Let’s pull together and Can the Griz!”
Where to donate
Organizers ask that nonperishable food donations be taken to collection locations throughout Gallatin County. A list of participating locations can be found at canthegriz.org/donation-drop-off-locations.
Donations directly to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank may be dropped off at its location at 602 Bond St. from 8 a.m. to noon Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.
Nonperishable donations can be dropped off at most local grocery stores, in donation bins located near the front of each store. Garden produce can be dropped off at the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.
Large donation drop offs must be scheduled in advance with Jon Horn at email@example.com.
More information on drop-off times and details can be found on the Can the Griz website.
A growing need
Kim Cleary, community engagement program manager in the MSU Office of Student Engagement, encouraged those who want to donate to plan ahead for donating, to donate before the final day and to use drop-off locations around the area.
“The Bozeman and MSU communities have both seen a steadily increasing need around food security in the last few years, and the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, as well as the Bounty of the Bridgers campus food pantry, really depend on and appreciate the support that comes out of the Can the Griz Food Drive each year,” Cleary said. “Seeing our community come together to support this event year after year has been truly inspiring in the face of the growing demand for the resources our food bank and campus pantry are seeing.”
“This academic year we have served close to double the monthly visitors we ever had in the past,” said Margaret Davies, basic needs program manager at MSU. “The need on campus, while striking, is consistent with the rising demand at the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and at our peer campus food pantries across the country. With the cost of living continuously going up, many students need our support to be nourished while they continue pursuing an education.”
Monetary donations also welcome
Monetary donations may also be made directly to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank by visiting gallatinvalleyfoodbank.org/donate/. Each dollar counts as one pound of food. Bobcat supporters can add their contributions to MSU’s total by telling the food bank their donation is for Can the Griz.
“Money is easier to store than food,” Cleary noted.
Last year, MSU supporters donated the equivalent of 613,054 pounds of food to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank for the community. (Pounds and dollars are added together for the contest.) The Can the Cats food drive in Missoula brought in the equivalent of 428,022 pounds of food for the Missoula Food Bank. Bozeman and the MSU community have won the competition 19 out of the 23 years it has been held.
Donations from Can the Griz will help the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, as well as the Bounty of the Bridgers food pantry, year-round. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank is one of the HRDC Food and Nutrition Programs’ initiatives. The Bounty of the Bridgers, housed in MSU’s Student Wellness Center, is a student-driven initiative to combat food waste and insecurity on the MSU campus for students, faculty and staff.
Can the Griz is coordinated by the MSU Office of Student Engagement and the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. Community members interested in more details on how to participate or volunteer can visit the Can the Griz website at canthegriz.org or its Facebook and Instagram pages. For more information or to host a collection box, please contact the MSU Office of Student Engagement at 406-994-2933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.