When the University of Richmond basketball program plays in the Governor's Hoop Holiday Classic on Dec. 22, the competition won't just be limited to the court.
The presidents of the four universities participating in the tournament -- Richmond, University of Virginia, Old Dominion University and George Mason University -- have joined Gov. Bob McDonnell to participate in a challenge to see which campus can collect the most donations for the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.
Non-perishable food items will be collected on Dec. 1 from attendees of the men's basketball game against Wake Forest, junior Jonathan Shannon said.
"We are going to get the word out at the game because the drive continues until Dec. 15," Shannon said.
There will also be an on-campus competition among student organizations to see which can collect the most donations. The competition, which will be run by the office of student activities from Dec. 3 to Dec. 7, will hopefully promote Richmond's success in the competition against the other universities, Shannon said.
"We are in a competition with three other -- larger -- schools to raise the most," he said. "We're a small school ... fighting an uphill battle, so we need everyone's help."
Distribution boxes have been placed in the laundry rooms of residence halls as well as in the lobby of the Heilman Dining Center. More boxes will eventually be distributed, Shannon said.
"We need to present Richmond." Shannon said. "We have a responsibility to the university and to the hungry."
According to information released by the governor's office: The Federation of Virginia Food Banks is a non-profit organization, and has been named the official "Cause of the Classic." McDonnell chose this particular cause to promote what he called a Virginia tradition, of lending help to the less fortunate during the holiday season by supporting a state and regional food drive to benefit those in need.
McDonnell encourages everyone to donate food toward the drive or by financial contribution, which can be made through the governor's website and credited toward any of the four participating universities.
University of Richmond President Ed Ayers said he was excited about the prospect of the schools coming together for the sake of the cause. Ayers has been named an honorary chairman of the food drive along with the presidents of UVA, Old Dominion and George Mason.
The Federation of Virginia Food Banks is the Commonwealth's largest hunger-relief coalition and supports a variety of affiliated food banks, as well as funding, education, advocacy and awareness through many services and programs.
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NBC Sports Network is among the dozen sponsors of the Governor's Holiday Hoop Classic. The doubleheader games will be broadcast live from the Richmond Coliseum to nearly 80 million viewers.
According to Leota Parandeh, a food drive assistant for the Central Virginia Food Bank: Feed More is a food bank that would benefit from the drive and last year, its programs have directly provided children and families with over a million pounds of food. Each dollar donated could provide five meals for those in need.
Contact reporter Mara LugoRudner at firstname.lastname@example.org
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