Bearcat Basketball teams look to Fans to make Feed the Dream Food Drive a Success

Donate Two Canned Food Items for Free Admission to WU vs. GFU Games on Jan. 24

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The men's and women's basketball teams from Willamette University and George Fox University will be supporting Feed the Dream -- the MLK Food Drive -- when they meet on Friday, January 24 at Cone Field House. Fans of both teams can support Feed the Dream and receive FREE admission by donating two canned food items per person.

Willamette and GFU will battle in the women's game at 6 p.m. (PST). The men's game between the Bearcats and the Bruins is scheduled for 8 p.m. Admission is good for both games.

Items donated to Feed the Dream will be given to the Marion/Polk County Food Share to assist families and individuals in the Salem area.

In addition, the Willamette Take a Break program will be staffing a food pantry at the game, where canned items can be purchased for $1 to $5 and then donated to Feed the Dream. Money raised will also be contributed to the Marion/Polk County Food Share.

"We are excited to be able to participate in this year's MLK Celebration through the Feed the Dream food drive," WU Head Women's Basketball Coach Peg Swadener said. "What better way to follow the Willamette University motto (Not unto ourselves alone are we born) and MLK's call to action than to help our very own community through this food drive.  I encourage everyone to join us Friday night in support of those less fortunate than ourselves."

The Bearcats and the Bruins will be wearing Feed the Dream t-shirts during warm-ups for Friday's games. The teams are proud to be lending their support to Feed the Dream, part of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Willamette.

"One in four children in our local neighborhoods go to bed hungry," said Jeani Bragg from the WU Career Center, who is helping organize Feed the Dream. "We have the opportunity to make a significant dent in that."

Willamette students, faculty and staff are also encouraged to donate to Feed the Dream although they already receive free admission with a valid Willamette identification card.

"As many of you do, I lead a busy life, and here is an opportunity to impact those without the resources," said Gordy Toyama, director of multicultural affairs at Willamette. "Your donation will impact a family in our area."

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration features several important events each year at Willamette.

"This year's theme is Behind the Dream, with the focus on the work and the people who worked to bring us closer to Dr. King's dream," Toyama said. "MLK's work was not just about dreams and ideals, it was a call to action. The Civil Rights Movement was not only about issue of racial equality, but also about issues such as poverty and hunger."

Basketball players and coaches from both Willamette and George Fox hope you will join them in continuing the work that goes on Behind the Dream by supporting Feed the Dream this week.

"From their first visit to campus as recruits of our program, our players understand the importance we put on being part of something greater than themselves. This MLK Food Drive is another great opportunity for them to not only grow as people, but help out a great cause," WU Head Men's Basketball Coach Kip Ioane said.

"It's amazing how the simple things in life can go a long way ... this event is no different," Ioane added. "Things as easy as the team wearing a Feed the Dream t-shirt for warm-ups, or a fan bringing food to the game can help out immensely."


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Willamette and George Fox basketball teams are encouraging participation in the Feed the Dream food drive as part of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

The Willamette and George Fox basketball teams are encouraging participation in the Feed the Dream food drive as part of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.