Before they clash in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the University of Central Florida and Baylor University will join together and give back to their host communities in Arizona.
From 10:15 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Dec. 31, members of the two spirit squads will join with fans from both schools to pack meals for hungry residents. UCF and Baylor fans will work side-by-side at the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance warehouse in Phoenix.
From to 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, other members of the two spirit squads and mascots Knightro and Bruiser will visit Phoenix Children’s Hospital, 1919 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix, to meet with children and their families.
“Serving others is an important part of our UCF culture, whether we are in Orlando or Arizona,” said Maribeth Ehasz, UCF’s vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Services. “We look forward to joining our friends from Baylor to help provide food for families in need and bring smiles to the faces of children who are spending the holidays in the hospital.”
“The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl may be the primary reason we have traveled to Phoenix but it is not the sole reason,” said Kevin Jackson, vice president for Student Life at Baylor University. “As Baylor Bears, it is in our DNA to serve others who are in need. It will be especially meaningful to do so alongside UCF fans.”
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, the world’s first food bank, distributes emergency food boxes at no cost to individuals and families in need. The boxes are designed to provide temporary food assistance during times of crisis, and recipients include the elderly, children, working families and the homeless.
The food bank event will be held at the St. Mary’s warehouse at 2831 N. 31st Ave., Phoenix, and it will begin with a 10:15 a.m. safety briefing. Participants will pack meals from 10:30 a.m. until noon. The warehouse is only about a 10-minute drive from downtown Phoenix hotels where many fans will be staying.
“We congratulate Baylor and UCF on fantastic seasons and welcome their students, administrators and fans to the Valley of the Sun and the Fiesta Bowl,” St. Mary’s President and CEO Beverly Damore said. “One in five Arizonans and one in four of our children don’t know where their next meals will come from, so we are excited and blessed that Bears and Knights fans have chosen to join us in the fight against hunger in Arizona. Thank you and we will see you all on Dec. 31 as we work side by side.”
UCF and Baylor fans ages 12 and older are invited to participate, and space will be limited to 60 people per school.
Participants must register in advance and can do so by going to http://volunteer.firstfoodbank.org and clicking on Register. After creating a volunteer profile, fans should click Pick an Opportunity. Scroll down the left side of the page to find Invitation Code. UCF fans should enter UCF2014. Volunteers will receive a confirmation email afterward.
The food bank will supply all of the food for the boxes. Participants can choose to make a $5 donation to cover the costs of filling one emergency food box. Each box contains the equivalent of a three- to four-day supply of food for a family of four.