Jan. 24, 2013
IRVING, Texas - Southern Miss student-athletes collected more than 7,000 pounds of food during the "Let's SAAC Hunger" program, the Conference USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's conference-wide community service initiative, for the Edwards Street Mission and Christian Services and finished in 5th place in this year's program.
Tulsa won the 2012 C-USA SAAC Cup, given annually to the institution collecting the most food by weight, by collecting over 12,000 pounds of food for charity. Ten C-USA schools collected more than 2,000 pounds of food donations during their drive week.
Each C-USA school worked within their respective communities to conduct a campus-wide canned food drive for one week during the fall semester. All student groups and alumni were encouraged to participate. For its C-USA SAAC Cup entry, each institution selected a local food bank to receive their donations.
More than 33 tons of food totaling 66,375.44 pounds, which equates to more than 55,000 meals, was collected conference-wide. The total was an increase of more than 6,000 pounds from a year ago.
"The primary goal of Conference USA SAAC is to enhance the student-athlete experience by engaging our student-athletes in service to their campus and surrounding communities," said C-USA Director of Sport Services Chris Grant. "Under the direction of C-USA Sports Services Intern, Harrison Tassopoulos, our membership was able to collect the highest total in the four-year existence of the Let's SAAC Hunger program. We are very thankful for every C-USA student-athlete and administrator that volunteered time to help feed the local communities throughout our geographic footprint."
Tulsa collected 12,240 pounds of food for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma which used the donation as part of a 30,000-plus pound distribution through its partner programs. The six-ton-plus total was more than 2,000 pounds heavier than the second place total.
Memphis eclipsed the 10,000-pound total during its drive to benefit the Mid-South Food Bank. The Mid-South Food Bank manages a warehouse distribution center with food for agencies, the kids cafè program which provides food for kids in a restaurant atmosphere in their neighborhoods and food for kids backpack program that allows children to go home with a backpack filled with nutritional food on the weekends.
SMU gathered more than 9,000 pounds of food for the North Texas Food Bank, while UTEP also topped the 7,000-pound mark.
Houston netted 4,674 pounds of donated food for the Star of Hope Donation Center, while Rice University collected 4,329.62 pounds of food for the Houston Food Bank.
UCF, Tulane and East Carolina also cleared more than 2,000 pounds of food during the drive, while Marshall accumulated 1,569 pounds and UAB contributed more than 300 pounds to local food banks.
The C-USA SAAC was formed in 1998. Its committee consists of 12 members (one from each institution) with one member serving as chair and one member as vice chair. The committee meets five times a year, including one in-person meeting.