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Auburn kicks off SEC Food Fight with sights set on 4th win against rivals and campus hunger

All Auburn fans enjoy a little friendly competition with our rivals, and this spring there will be plenty of hustle as Auburn chases its fourth consecutive victory in the SEC Food Fight. With a goal to raise $70K in monetary and nonperishable food item donations to keep the Campus Food Pantry operational, the SEC Food Fight goes way beyond bragging rights. It feeds the 39% of Auburn University students who are food insecure.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that all our Auburn students are affluent,” said Peyton Alsobrook, director of advancement for Auburn Student Affairs. 

The June 2022 National College Health Assessment III, administered by Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute, revealed that 39% of Auburn students experience food insecurity. This comes in many forms, be it a fixed budget of dining dollars that runs out early in the semester or job and income loss.

“The Campus Food Pantry serves those students who don’t know where or when they’ll have their next meal,” Alsobrook said.

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The Auburn Family and Partners Step Up

The Campus Food Pantry in Lupton Hall is open several days a week. Designed like a grocery store, students complete a simple sign up form and  “shop” for food and toiletries provided through donations and partnerships with Kroger and Campus Dining. 

Kroger delivers two truckloads of food every two weeks. Items include bread, frozen meats, fruits, vegetables, canned food and other nonperishable foods. Vegetables and fresh produce are also available on a limited basis. In fall semester alone, the Campus Food Pantry distributed 29,805 items to students. 

“Campus Food Pantry is an impressive space,” Alsobrook said. “Students walk through the shelves and can shop for items they need or want. They get to choose.”

“Since we moved to the ‘self-shop’ model in 2022, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of users,” Carrie Rose, the assistant director of Auburn Cares, said. “In the fall semester, a total of 484 students — including 179 new users — visited the pantry 1,987 times.”

“One thing that’s really special about the food pantry is seeing how often students bring friends to the pantry to help them with the registration process so they can use it, too. It’s a great example of the Auburn Family and how students look out for and want the best for each other,” she said.

Students can register on-site or online by filling out an eligibility form. Auburn Cares staff are at the Campus Food Pantry during operating hours to aid in the process. Once registered, students may visit the food pantry twice per month, and shop for 15 items at each visit. 

Aubie at the Auburn Campus Food Pantry

Fight the Food Fight

The SEC Food Fight is the Campus Food Pantry’s largest fundraising event. This year they’re looking to raise $70,000.

“We’re primarily looking for monetary donations that will be the bulk of our operating budget for the coming year,” Rose says. “We are excited for this year’s Food Fight and grateful for the people who support us and understand we rely on their donations.”

Beyond helping win the SEC Food Fight, Auburn community members can get involved with the Campus Food Pantry year-round.

“Student organizations and campus departments who host food drives for the Campus Food Pantry are always appreciated,” Rose said. “It’s an awesome way students, employees and community members can support the food pantry at any time.”