Sycamore fans hope to flood the bleachers for charity this weekend, as two nationally ranked teams vie for a win.
In exchange for a charitable contribution, the Indiana State University Athletic Department will allow free admission to Saturday’s home game against the Illinois State University Redbirds. Bridget Miles, wife of football coach Trent Miles, said the idea for a fundraiser came to her Monday morning while driving their children to school amid media reports about Hurricane Sandy victims.
“We’ve just heard stories over and over the last few days,” she said Wednesday evening.
Fans can get free admission to Saturday’s home game in exchange for a 5-pound donation of food to Terre Haute Catholic Charities, or a free will donation to the American Red Cross. Both organizations will host collection sites at the game.
Carol Stevens, executive director of the Wabash Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the organization is grateful for the support and needs all the help it can get. Hurricane Sandy’s destruction along the East Coast has officials deeming the clean-up an “event of long duration,” she said.
“I think right now it’s really just too early to define that,” she said of a potential end point.
This week alone, the American Red Cross has dispatched 2,300 volunteers and more than 200 emergency response vehicles to the coast.
“We’re now at the point we’re sending health services people,” she said.
Meanwhile, a donation of $5 can provide five blankets to an emergency shelter, and $40 buys a snack for 20 people. A full day of meals and shelter for four survivors runs about $200, she said.
Likewise, Jennifer Buell, director of development at Catholic Charities, said contributions of food made Saturday will be put to good use locally.
“We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the ISU football team’s efforts to raise funds and receive food donations. Our prayers go out to all those on the East Coast hit so hard this week by Hurricane Sandy. Saturday’s event gives us the chance to receive food to help those hit hard by economic issues right here in our own communities,” she said.
The organization’s food bank serves more than 32,000 people throughout the Wabash Valley. Last year’s efforts, in conjunction with those of about 90 nonprofit member agencies, resulted in 2 million meals distributed throughout seven counties, she said.
The 5-pound donation can be comprised of any number of food items, and Buell said the group is particularly in need of protein sources. Canned tuna, chicken and peanut butter are always good donations, along with canned fruits and vegetables.
This Saturday’s game pits the No. 14 Sycamores against No. 15 Redbirds. The five-game winning streak is a first since 1996, and its ranking is the highest since joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The team is on a drive to get 10,000 fans to Memorial Stadium for what Miles said will be a great game.
“We’re just extremely excited about the game,” she said.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or email@example.com.