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This year the Cat-Griz battle has high stakes on and off the field. There will be great plays, heavy competition, rowdy fans, blood and food? In honor of the great rivalry, MSU and the University of Montana are hosting food and blood drives. Each school will be competing to collect the largest number of life-saving supplies for their communities. 

MSU is hosting the 22nd annual Can the Griz and the UM is hosting Can the Cats food drive to see which school can collect the most food for the local food banks in their respective counties. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank in Bozeman benefits greatly from this charity event. Last year, the off-field competition brought in 150,390 pounds of food and $253,853 for those in need. There are several collection sites around town including bins placed around the MSU campus for non-perishable items. These collection site locations can be found on the Can the Griz website. Perishable items and money can be donated directly to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays with morning drop-offs preferred. Donations can be made until the competition’s end date of Saturday, Nov. 20. 

The Gallatin Valley Food Bank is open year-round and donations are greatly appreciated going into the holiday season. This event is arranged by the Office of Student Engagement. The MSU Library is also offering to reduce library fines for students, faculty and staff, in exchange for food items. A maximum of four cans can be brought to the MSU Library Service desk to receive a $10 reduction in fines. 

Randi Maiers, student organizations program manager at the Office of Student Engagement, described a strategy “to encourage clubs to get more involved with the Can the Griz food drive.” Clubs can volunteer their time by helping at several events, such as grocery store collection sites, or by collecting food around Bozeman neighborhoods. To get involved, students can sign up under the volunteer tab on the Can the Griz website. Points will be given out based on food collected and volunteering hours. The club with the greatest number of points will be awarded $2,000. Most of the club donations will go to the on-campus food bank Bounty of the Bridgers. A total of 22 clubs are currently signed up, but there is still time for more clubs to join the competition. 

The food drive isn’t the only competition between the two schools this year. The bad blood between the teams is also being collected for the Cat-Griz Blood Battle. With the help of the American Red Cross, Cats fans are competing against their rivals at U of M to see which school can donate the most blood. This drive couldn’t come at a better time, as there is a nationwide blood shortage. For those who want to donate, visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter the code CATGRIZCHALLENGE to join the competition.