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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Razorback Athletics teamed up with Tyson Foods to help bring the gift of food to the area's less fortunate as part of Lift Up America on Saturday morning. For the 11th consecutive year, more than 50 Razorback student-athletes were on hand to help unload the food during the donation announcement at the Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
Razorback student-athletes from football, women's basketball, soccer, men's track and field and gymnastics braved some steady cold rain to load nearly 40,000 pounds of protein donated by Tyson Foods to over 60 partner agencies of the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.
"We were proud to once again team with Tyson Foods, Lift Up America and the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank to help feed those in need and raise awareness of hunger issues in our region," University of Arkansas associate athletic director for public relations Kevin Trainor said. "More than 50 student-athletes from a variety of our sport programs made it a point to spend Saturday morning helping those who face the daily challenge of not knowing where their next meal will come from. Most importantly they provided an assist to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and other outstanding organizations and agencies throughout our region who work to combat hunger each and every day."
"Many people don't realize hunger is an issue in every single community," Tyson Foods' senior manager of corporate social responsibility Matt Pakula said. "We're proud to once again partner with Lift Up America and the University of Arkansas to help raise awareness about the seriousness of this issue in Northwest Arkansas."
Meat and poultry are nutrient dense foods, according to health experts, and can be especially helpful to people who need more protein. However, according to food banks nationwide, meat is the most requested and least available food.
"We are out here in the rain, with a lot of other volunteers, having some fun giving back to the community," football student-athlete Rawleigh Williams III said. "My parents have always taught me to give back and this is just another opportunity we have to do that. This is probably my favorite (outreach event), because we get to be outside and lift some big boxes. Most importantly we are feeding those in need in Northwest Arkansas."
"As a student-athletes it is especially important for us to give back to the community that gives us so much support," soccer student-athlete Betty Poblete said. "It is great to give back to the community that has given us so much."
"At the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, we provide food to the hundreds of pantries and agencies that are on the front lines of hunger relief," president and CEO of Northwest Arkansas Food Bank Kent Eikenberry said. "Donations of poultry and other high protein foods are especially valuable as they allow us to provide our clients with more healthy, nutritious options."