I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
-George Petrie, Auburn Creed
So this coming weekend is kind of a weird weekend, right? Since Auburn elected to bifurcate the Amen Corner a few years ago, there's been a stress-free non-conference game scheduled between the two big main event games. It's usually a nice, quiet week to break up the awful anxiety that comes with playing both Georgia and Alabama in November. Usually. This year, sitting at 5-5, Auburn will be fighting for bowl eligibility* and a little pride as it recovers from a poor offensive showing against Georgia. And by "poor offensive showing," I meant "absolutely awful terrible no good very bad horrible coaching job."
Instead of wailing and tooth-gnashing about Saturday**, I'd rather take this opportunity to talk about two of my most favorite things: helping people and beating Alabama.
As the holidays draw near, it's hard not to think about tables full of rich food and eating ourselves into a coma. But while visions of gluttony dance in our heads, one in six Americans struggles with hunger. We are blessed to live in the greatest nation on Earth, but sometimes children go without meals because their parents, many of whom are hardworking, just can't make ends meet. Fortunately, in this land of plenty, just a small bit of generosity on our part can make an immeasurable difference in the life of someone else.
Since 1994, the East Alabama Food Bank and Auburn University have teamed up to help fight hunger in our own backyard by challenging the West Alabama Food Bank and The University of Alabama to a contest to see who can collect the most non-perishable food to help those in need. Since it's philanthropic in nature, this competition is goodnatured and shows that good can come from a rivalry most recently associated with bitterness and hatred.
So why am I giving you this history lesson? Because of this:
Y'all, they've been kicking our tails. For the last two years, they've nearly lapped us. Truth be told, though, I participated in Alabama's version, Beat Auburn Beat Hunger, while I was in school (both times) in Tuscaloosa because there are no losers in this particular contest. But it's just not a good look for Tuscaloosa to look more charitable than Auburn. They've won six out of the last ten years and most convincingly recently. Auburn people are some of the kindest and most generous people I've ever had the privilege of meeting and I know we can blow them out of the water.
There are several ways you can make a difference in someone's holiday. First, you can donate non-perishable food items at the Beat Bama Food Drive barrels*** located at grocery stores and other community locations through Auburn and Opelika. If you can't make it out to one of the area locations, the Beat Bama Food Drive has made it even easier to give by encouraging online donations. No amount of food or money is too small. I'm saving for Christmas presents and trying to feed a puppy that never seems to get full, but I know I'm willing to sacrifice a couple of days at Chipotle to help feed someone in need. A few dollars or cans of food may not seem like it could make a dent in widespread hunger, but if we raise enough food to feed 500 families, we might be able to feed 501 and to that one extra family, your gift will have meant the world.
There are also t-shirts. They're Comfort Colors. What more can you ask for? But you have to get those on the Haley Concourse on Wednesdays from 10-2.
If you're interested in Auburn memorabilia, BBFD has you covered there, too. From the comfort of your living room, you can help people, beat Bama, AND bid on the following items (plus several more****) in an online auction:
An autographed picture of Coach Flo:
Framed Auburn Illustrated magazine covers:
A hand-painted picture of Aubie in graduation attire, perfect for any Auburn graduate:
And an autographed football signed by Nick Marshall, Reese Dismukes, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Sammie Coates
Basically what I'm saying is there are several ways to pitch in and you might even get some cool stuff out of it. As ugly as the Iron Bowl rivalry has gotten in the last few years, this contest is a breath of fresh air. Sure, I want to beat them. I want to beat them at everything they ever attempt. I enjoy seeing them sad. But the community that loses this food drive will still be home to hundreds of families that will win.
The only catch? The Beat Bama Food Drive ends November 20*****. From the time this article goes live, there will only be three-ish days to donate. But historically, Auburn seems to do its best work under pressure. Tie game with one second on the clock? We can do this, guys. We can beat our biggest rival, and we can feed hungry families in East Alabama.
Until next time--War Eagle!
*While I'm thinking about it, can we cool it with being picky about which bowl we might get selected for? We aren't even bowl eligible yet. Assuming we win this weekend, and that might be a big assumption considering how we played last Saturday, we might should just be thankful we snuck wins from Texas A&M and Kentucky because nothing was guaranteed this season. If we can salvage a trip to ANY bowl out of the dumpster fire that has been 2015, I won't complain one bit about the destination.
**I covered that on Twitter.
***To see a list of barrel locations, look under the Donations tab at beatbamafooddrive.com. I tried to link directly to it, but their website isn't set up with specific page addresses.
****There's also this, an autographed life-sized cutout of Nick Jonas. Interested, @Everett_Duke?
*****Even if you're not able to donate by November 20 for the contest, please consider still making a donation. You never know who your gift will help.