Annual football game and food drive inspire inter-office competition

By: Travis Estvold
19 December 2014

Each year, corresponding with a showdown between their rival football teams (dubbed the “Brawl of the Wild“), Montana State University (Bozeman) and the University of Montana (Missoula) run simultaneous food drive competitions: “Can the Cats” and “Can the Griz,” respectively — nods to MSU’s Bobcats and UM’s Grizzlies. Supporters of each university attempt to collect more can goods for their local food bank.

CTA_BrawlOfTheWild_logoThis year, Jenny Bennett, administrative assistant for the Bozeman office, threw down a work challenge: to see which office, CTA Bozeman or CTA Missoula, could collect the larger number of canned goods on behalf of its local school. CTA President Scott Wilson liked the idea, offering to purchase the winning office lunch.

When the dust settled, CTA Missoula collected 389 total food items for the Missoula Food Bank and CTA Bozeman collected 480 food items for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank (GVFB).

Winner: Team Bozeman!

The Bozeman office subsequently enjoyed its to-go, family-style lunch from nearby Naked Noodle restaurant, courtesy of Wilson. (“A big thank you to Scott, from the whole Bozeman team!” Bennett parlayed.)

Montana State also won its inter-university food drive competition; MSU supporters donated more than 171,000 lbs of food and more than $74,000 to GVFB.

Conversely, the University of Montana football team prevailed in the schools’ on-field clash on Nov. 22 by a decisive margin of 34-7. After winning the last two meetings, UM has stretched its historical record in the 113-year series with MSU to 71-37-5.

The real winners, of course, are the local food banks and the food’s end-recipients. According to Montana State University, this year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 171,554 pounds of food and $74,636 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank; the Can the Cats food drive in Missoula brought in 121,609 pounds of food and $78,272 for the Missoula Food Bank. Both communities surpassed last year’s totals, which were also record amounts.

NOTE: Lori Case and CTA’s office in Livingston, MT (about 30 miles east of Bozeman), didn’t participate in this competition, but independently collected 59 food items to donate to the Livingston Food Pantry as well.

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