The Ohio State Swim Club found a way to maintain competitive spirit for a charitable cause.
This is the first year the club will host the “Thanks for Giving” Fall Classic, a weeklong event before Thanksgiving encouraging Buckeyes, visiting teams and spectators to donate non-perishable food items that will go to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
On Monday, officials set up cardboard boxes and signs by the Welcome Center in the RPAC and by the entrance of the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, where students can leave donations, said Katie Thomas, interactive marketing coordinator in the Department of Recreational Sports.
During the Fall Classic Meet on Saturday and Sunday, athletes and spectators will compete to donate the most food items. Each of the 18 teams will receive a list of their team number. The number must be written on the surface of all donations.
As OSU students and visitors enter the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, volunteers will take the items and tally each team’s collection at the end, said Christine Thompson, director of Aquatic Events.
Admission to the meet is free with the donation of a food item, otherwise it is $3 per session for adults and $2 per session for children 3 to 12 years old and students who bring identification.
The award ceremony will be between 7 and 8 p.m., depending on when swimmers finish.
“The Ohio State Swim Club ‘Thanks for Giving’ Classic Champion Plaque will be awarded to the team scoring the greatest number of points in the meet,” according to the club’s website. “A separate plaque will be awarded to the team (athletes and spectators combined) who donates the most food items for the food drive.”
“We hope to get 1,000 food items,” Thompson said. Officials expect about 730 athletes to attend, along with spectators.
Some of the most-needed items include boxed dry foods, canned meats and canned fruits and vegetables, according to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank website.
Mid-Ohio Foodbank “supplies food to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, after school programs and senior housing sites in 20 counties in central and eastern Ohio,” according to its website.
In Franklin County, 15 percent of the population lives below the poverty level. Twenty percent are children less than 17 years old, and 11 percent are seniors more than 65 years old, according to Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s website.