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Annual charity challenge helps tackle hunger for many in Central Virginia

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, center, and VCU alumni pose for a photo at last year's charity challenge. (Courtesy photo)
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, center, and VCU alumni pose for a photo at last year's charity challenge. (Courtesy photo)

Virginia Commonwealth University alumni will bring canned goods and school spirit to the sixth annual Alumni Charity Challenge on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond.

Established in 2013 by the VCU Alumni Richmond Chapter, the challenge invites alumni chapters from all universities in Virginia, as well as several out-of-state institutions, to collect canned goods to support FeedMore, the Central Virginia Food Bank.

“The Alumni Charity Challenge has always been an amazing way to highlight the spirit of our community,” said Doug Pick, CEO of FeedMore. “Each year we continue to be impressed by not just the amount of donations each alumni chapter raises, but the passion and excitement that everyone brings. It’s an extraordinary evening, and we encourage everyone to come feel the energy.”

Thirty-nine participating schools aim to collect 75,000 pounds of food, as alumni compete to donate the most canned goods and get their school’s name on a challenge trophy. VCU earned the trophy for the third consecutive year in 2017. The family-friendly event, sponsored by Nationwide, Virginia Credit Union, and Boost Promotional, is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and includes food trucks, giveaways and music from 103.7 Play.

“It is a great opportunity for alumni groups to come together to fight food insecurity in Central Virginia,” said Joseph Stemmle, a VCU School of Business alumnus and co-chair of the challenge. “Each alumni chapter tries to collect as many cans as possible in three hours, which are then delivered to FeedMore the next day.”

In addition to donating canned foods, individuals can make a monetary donation online to FeedMore. For every $1 donated, FeedMore can distribute 5 pounds of food. Online donations are accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 12.

“We are forever grateful to the VCU Alumni Richmond Chapter for establishing this important and fun annual competition,” said VCU alumnus Tim McDermott, chief development officer at FeedMore. “With more than 40 tons of canned food raised since it began, the Alumni Charity Challenge has made a huge impact in the fight against hunger throughout our 34 city and county service area in central Virginia.

“The participation of all the colleges and universities involved in the competition help enable us to feed individuals and families who may not know when or how their next meal will arrive.”

Learn more about the Alumni Charity Challenge at www.alumnicharity.org.