The 2021 Valley United Against Hunger food drive, where students from BYU and UVU join together in a friendly competition to raise food and monetary donations for Utah County’s most in-need residents, concluded on Tuesday, November 23, when students presented Community Action Services and Food Bank with a check for $27,930 and 5,680 pounds of canned food items.  

For more than 20 years, the student alumni association at BYU has joined forces with either students from Utah Valley University or the University of Utah to help feed their neighbors and fellow students. With activities ranging from fun runs to apartment food blitzes to creating cupcake mascot murals, every year tens of thousands of dollars and tons of food are collected. 

Despite challenges resulting from the lingering effects of the pandemic, including the cancellation of the popular Cosmo cupcake mural at BYU, the two universities celebrated another banner fundraising event. 

Students who presented the giant check to CASFB recounted the tender moments experienced during the three-week campaign. 

Samantha Thee, a student alumni association member from BYU, said that one of the best parts of the food drive was when she was visiting with a gentleman who mentioned how he had once benefited from services like those provided by Community Action Services and Food Bank and then said that he had found God and wanted to help. “Then he whipped out his credit card,” she said.

Clayton Rawson, a UVU student alumni association member, enjoyed seeing how willing people were to give, especially when the canned food apartment blitz team visited places where they didn’t think they’d get donations, and yet residents would rally together and rummage pantries for items to donate. 

“It was inspiring, in spite of all the challenges of the year, that people are still turning outward, instead of inward, and helping others,” said Joseph Andreason, a BYU junior and member of the alumni association. “Despite difficult circumstances, people will find a way to help each other.” 

UVU student Cole Leifson was proud to mark his third year participating in the Valley United food drive. “My favorite thing is the spirit of giving,” he said. “Once you explain what you’re collecting for, people are more than happy to help.” 

Shaun Singh, the UVU student alumni advisor, was again impressed with just how willing students were to participate and how they enjoyed the friendly rivalry that encompasses the food drive. “Giving becomes a lot easier when there is a fun challenge involved,” he said. “When you hear the cause, giving is more rewarding. We are fulfilling the needs of the community and those of fellow students.”

Makayla Howard, BYU student alumni association member, spearheaded her university’s team and was completely impressed with the commitment of the dozens of volunteers who helped collect both monetary and canned food donations. “They made this come to life. They were willing to give of themselves and really go the extra mile,” she said. 

Tom Hogan, COO of CASFB, agreed: “If everyone does a little, it goes a long way.”

Funds collected will be used to feed those in need throughout the holiday season and beyond. For more information on how you can host a food drive this holiday season for Community Action Services, visit our Food Drive page.