Supporters of Oregon and Ohio State joined together Monday morning to sort clothes and stock the pantry at the Community Storehouse.
“This is such a fun event to collaborate together and put aside our rivalry on the field to some good work in the community,” said Amy Quiring, director of major student events at the University of Oregon.
“But tonight’s another story.”
Ohio State and Oregon meet Monday night for the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Game at A&T Stadium.
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Ohio State leaders, alumni, students and fans traditionally volunteer at a local nonprofit near where the football team plays in a postseason bowl game. The two teams last met in the 2010 Rose Bowl, and that’s when supporters of both schools first got together for a day of community service.
“When we found out that we were matched up with Ohio State again, it made a lot of sense to put together a service project,” Quiring said. “It felt right and the Community Storehouse welcomed us in with open arms.”
About 100 volunteers — not counting the Oregon marching band — turned out at the non-profit’s donation center and food pantry.
The Community Storehouse provides assistance — including food, clothing and school supplies — to underprivileged children and their families in the Northwest and Keller school districts.
“The Community Storehouse mission really spoke to both of our institutions,” Quiring said. “They have a mission of serving the children in the community and keeping them in school when times are hard. It was really important for us to support that mission.”
The effort was important for local children to know about, said Barbara Board, Community Storehouse’s executive director.
“This is huge, not only to get the word out about what we do, but also for the children to see what they (the universities) came here to do,” Board said. “It shows them that colleges are supporting them.”
Many of the universities’ top leaders, including presidents, vice presidents and others, helped out.
“Getting a chance to meet people who live and work here and are doing this work on a daily basis is really uplifting to us,” said Ohio State President Michael Drake, taking a break from stocking shelves.
While the championship game is “everything” to a lot of fans, the volunteers were happy to put aside their differences hours before kickoff.
“It’s all about giving back,” said Allister “Sudzy” Steyn, a senior at Ohio State. “But tonight, it’s war.”