This post was written by Lacey Klotz and originally appeared on the Lipscomb University website here.
For over 50 years, the annual Lipscomb and Belmont universities men’s basketball games –coined the Battle of the Boulevard – has been a highly anticipated event as each team competes for the coveted Battle of the Boulevard trophy and esteemed bragging rights.
This year, in addition to the game, the universities are coming together for another purpose: To help feed the hungry people of Middle Tennessee.
For the second year in a row, Lipscomb and Belmont universities are teaming up in support of The Tennessean’s Ms. Cheap and her Eighth Annual Penny Drive benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank at the Nov. 29 game at 7 p.m. at Belmont and the Dec. 6 game at 6:30 p.m. at Lipscomb.
Since 2009, the Penny Drive, an annual fundraiser that raises money and awareness of the fact that one million people in Tennessee are hungry, has raised more than $300,000 to help feed children, families and seniors in our community.
Last year, Lipscomb and Belmont raised $828 resulting in 3,312 meals for those struggling with hunger in Middle Tennessee. For every $1 donated this year, Second Harvest can provide four meals to others in need as well.
At both the Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 games, Mary Hance, who writes the Ms. Cheap column in The Tennessean, and Second Harvest will have a booth set up with Penny Drive cans. Fans are encouraged to bring pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and any bills to the game to help join this initiative to feed those in need.
Belmont and Lipscomb cheerleaders will also pass out Penny Drive cans after the games for individuals to bring back to their companies, clubs, churches and schools to get their employees, friends, families, clients and others involved in this community outreach project to support Second Harvest.
Fans who take home a Penny Drive can are encouraged to:
- Keep a penny can at home or in your car and drop all of your change in it every night.
- Place a penny can at your workplace and encourage your co-workers and/or customers to drop spare change in it every chance they get.
- Create a Penny Drive competition among office departments to see which department can raise the most money. Add an incentive or a prize for the winning team. Everybody loves a challenge!
- If your workplace has a company match program, collect as much as you can and then have your company match it. Doubling your donation will double the impact!
- Pass a penny can around at your garden club, book club or civic club meetings. Better yet, see if your club will take the Penny Drive on as a full holiday service project.
The Penny Drive goes from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31. Participants can drop of cans at any Penny Drive partner location including: Pinnacle Financial Partners, Wilson Bank & Trust, The Tennessean or Second Harvest.
Casey Alexander, head coach for the Lipscomb men’s basketball team, says he is excited to see such a storied event between the two universities be used as a platform to serve others.
“The Battle of the Boulevard has been a signature game for both schools for such a long time now,” said Alexander. “While it’s our differences that separate us and ultimately forms our allegiance to one side or the other, there are actually more similarities between us than either side would care to admit.
“Both schools do so much for the Nashville community and the Penny Drive is another great opportunity. We’re excited to do our part to support Second Harvest.”
The Battle of the Boulevard began in 1953 when both Lipscomb and Belmont, located just three miles apart on Belmont Boulevard, were NAIA powerhouses in men’s basketball. The two schools leaped to NCAA Division 1 in the late 1990s, and today, the two schools face-off twice a year as non-conference foes as Lipscomb is currently seated in the Atlantic Sun Conference and Belmont in the Ohio Valley.
Hance, who has been writing the Ms. Cheap column for more than 21 years, said she chose Second Harvest as the beneficiary for her Penny Drive effort because food is so basic and the need is so great. She said she also loves knowing that Second Harvest supports so many other agencies – almost 500 in 46 Middle Tennessee counties – that are doing meaningful local work.
“With more than a million Tennesseans at risk of hunger, I’m encouraging (begging) you to display Penny Drive cans at home and at work and anywhere else, so that people will talk about hunger and consider volunteering their time and digging into their pockets to help feed hungry people,” said Hance in a recent article.
Founded in 1978, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is one of the largest and most comprehensive of more than 200 food banks and food distribution centers nationwide. This past year, Second Harvest distributed more than 31 million pounds of food to its 490 Partner Agencies, providing more than 26 million meals of food to hungry children, families and seniors throughout its 46-county service area.
For more information about the Battle of the Boulevard games and to purchase tickets, visit: www.lipscombsports.com/fanzone/battle/.