Missouri Tigers Head Football Coach Barry Odom address supporters at the Score Against Hunger Victory Luncheon at Memorial Stadium.

Missouri Tigers Head Football Coach Barry Odom address supporters at the Score Against Hunger Victory Luncheon at Memorial Stadium.

Following their daily practice, Missouri Tigers football players take time for breakfast.

“Every morning we take that break because I know the importance of having fuel for the day,” Coach Barry Odom said.

And it is just as important for children across central and northeast Missouri to have breakfast, too. That is why Odom is proud to be part the annual Score Against Hunger fundraising campaign, he told supporters of The Food Bank at this year’s Score Against Hunger Victory Luncheon.

“It’s a wonderful cause,” he said. “When you hear about Buddy Packs and see the number of kids who get a chance to eat because of your donations, it’s awesome.”

Score Against Hunger began in 1995 and invites Mizzou fans to raise money alongside the team to support The Food Bank. It has become The Food Bank’s largest annual fundraising campaign, and 2017 was no exception.

This year’s campaign raised a record-breaking $1.3 million in sponsorships, in-kind donations and outright gifts.

Mike Kelly, “Voice of the Tigers” and co-chair of the campaign committee, said it makes sense for Tiger fans to team up with The Food Bank, the Official Charitable Partner of Mizzou Athletics.

“It is fitting that Tiger fans would be on the forefront of tackling hunger in central and northeast Missouri,” he said. “Thank you. It takes all of us to solve hunger.”

Campaigns that focus on fundraising are especially important as The Food Bank continues to put more emphasis on the distribution of foods that encourage healthy lifestyles—namely produce, protein, dairy and whole grains. Of the 29.8 million pounds of food The Food Bank distributed in 2017, more than 60 percent was in the form of foods that encourage.

“Fresh food is perishable and cannot be donated through traditional food drives, so the Score campaign is important to raise monetary gifts that can be used to purchase healthy, perishable food,” Kelly said.

In addition to Odom and Kelly, the Score luncheon held at Memorial Stadium included Jim Sterk, director of Mizzou Athletics, members of the Score Committee and members of The Food Bank’s Board of Directors. Donors who made contributions of $1,000 or more were also in attendance.

“I’m proud of this campaign and our accomplishments,” said The Food Bank’s Executive Director, Lindsay Young Lopez. “Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many.”