As the Brawl of the Wild approaches Bobcat Stadium, the rivalry between the Cats and Griz is reaching its annual fever pitch and the clash of the two schools is extending its claws far beyond the turf. The Can the Griz food drive pits the two schools against each other to see which one can collect the most nonperishable food items for their community. Cans are poured into collection baskets and carts located at grocery stores, businesses and offices throughout the Gallatin Valley.

The event, organized by the OSE, calls on community members, students and faculty to donate, both money and canned goods, to the local food banks. Collection began on Nov. 9 and will end on Nov. 23.

Volunteers for the food drive signed up on the event website for three-hour time slots at different pick-up locations, where they distributed wish lists for various food banks and accepted any donations. Local businesses joined in on the collection by signing up to be designated as drop-off sites. 

“The donations that we get in these two weeks go for months and months and months throughout the year, way past the holidays,” Heidi Worley, OSE Community Engagement Manager, said. “It’s helping feed your neighbors, your friends, family, and children. A fun part of it is that it’s another way to beat the Griz off the field.”

A total of 263,263 pounds of food and $185,457 dollars was raised by the Bozeman community in last year’s food drive, marking the 16th time the Bobcats were able to “can” the Griz. The tradition is repeating for the 20th time this year, and the OSE has lined up plenty of events to encourage the Bobcats to do even better than the previous year.

Recently, The Bozeman Bowl hosted “Strike Out Hunger” on Nov. 14, during which five cans of food or five dollars earned unlimited bowling and a pair of bowling shoes. The same deal earned entry to the Procrastinator Theater for a showing of “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste.” 

A “Cranksgiving” scavenger hunt, kicked off on Nov. 16, enlisted participants to follow the clues around the community and ended with each competitor dropping off seven cans of goods to the food bank. 

Bozeman businesses have also been providing incentives for Gallatin Valley residents to donate to the community by offering special discounts and deals for the duration of the food drive. Information on the specials and volunteer opportunities included in the food drive can be found on canthegriz.com.

The OSE is also looking for more volunteers to sign up on the website to help with parking and collecting cans at the Brawl of the Wild game. The end of the first quarter of the rivalry game will mark the end of the food drive showdown, so make sure to roll those cans in before the deadline.

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