The Tackle Hunger Ohio State versus Penn State Giving Challenge is seeing which university can raise the most money to fight food insecurity. Credit: Courtesy of Katie Whiteside

Ohio State and Penn State are battling off the field in a friendly competition to raise money for their campus food pantries.

The Tackle Hunger Ohio State versus Penn State Giving Challenge is taking place between the two universities to see which can raise the most money toward helping combat food insecurity on campus. The contest began Sunday and will end Saturday after the much-anticipated football game between the two universities, Jenn Keyes, assistant vice president of the Alumni Association at Ohio State, said.

A 2014 Ohio State survey showed that 15 percent of students have a “very low level of food security,” according to a university press release.

Nicholas Fowler, Buckeye Food Alliance coordinator, said both universities see college food insecurity as an important issue and wanted to use this opportunity to bring support and awareness to the cause, which is what prompted the competition.

“Leaders from both universities wanted to leverage the rivalry around football and to inspire philanthropy in a fun way,” Fowler said.

Keyes said that at the end of the day, the competition is about the students they are impacting and that is the spirit behind the campaign.

“That is why our alumni, friends and community members are getting behind it because it is helping our students,” Keyes said. “I think part of the competition and the fun is that it is something everyone is enjoying.”

Keyes said it is great when two competitive schools can come together for a common good and make a difference in their communities.

“Both schools have already won because of the amount of gifts that have been donated,” Keyes said.

Monetary gifts can be donated online through the event’s website. Once the competition has ended, the gifts will support Buckeye Food Alliance and a similar program at Penn State, Keyes said. For every $5 donated, one point goes toward the challenge, and each dollar raised equates to up to five meals for students.

The current tally shows Ohio State, with 13,473 gifts, trailing Penn State, which has 28,739 gifts.

Donors can also contribute by texting either BEATOSU or BEATPSU to 71777.

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