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Thursday, Dec. 16, 2022

MOBILE – The Rice University and Southern Mississippi University football teams both spent time in the community on Thursday.

Rice spent the morning at Feeding the Gulf Coast, a non-profit organization that provides food to help those in need;  including the backpack coalition and senior adults. Their network serves 24 counties in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi and covers 22,000 square miles. They serve 400 pantry partners and 150 child nutrition partners.

“It means so much,” said Michael Ledger, President and CEO of Feeding the Gulf Coast. “Volunteers are so important to our organization and community every day. We are so proud to have community members stand alongside and support this mission, and to have the LendingTree Bowl and Rice football team, working so hard to put this all together.

“It’s so fun to see them come in and be so productive and so helpful to those in need so quickly. They are making a huge impact here today.”

The Rice football team assembled bags of food, consisting of can goods and dry goods for seniors, and can goods, mac and cheese, oatmeal and snacks for the children’s backpacks. The bags were then placed in large boxes and placed onto pallets.

At the end of the day, the Owls assembled close to 400 boxes of food to be distributed.

Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Izeya Floyd was one the players on the assembly line and he was excited to be a part of the service day.

“It’s the best feeling,” Floyd said. “The best part of these bowl games is getting out in the community, meeting new people and being able to help them out is a blessing.  I am glad to be out here today with my team and the LendingTree Bowl staff and give to the local community. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Southern Miss spent the afternoon at the Prodisee Pantry in Spanish Fort.

Prodisee Pantry is a non-profit community ministry providing emergency food and disaster relief. Families who are having trouble making ends meet are given food assistance and additional information from a caring listener about other programs that may help to make their lives more stable. The Pantry provides food to single parents, homeless persons, retirees, families in transition, under-employed and unemployed households, grandparents raising grandchildren and others in need.

“We are super excited to have the Southern Miss football team here packing food boxes, so we can provide those for a big Christmas distribution this coming Sunday,” said Deann Sevros, the executive director of Prodisee Pantry. “These players are here today making Christmas merry for hundreds of families in Baldwin County.”

The Golden Eagles made food boxes, consisting of fruits and vegetables, canned goods and dry goods. Sevros said each box was worth $250 and would also include a holiday meat and regular emergency food.

USM freshman tight end Evan McNally was appreciative of the opportunity to give back.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity for us, especially as a football program,” McNally said. “We don’t get to do much as far as service, so I feel like it’s great to come out and help the people that are really in need and give back to the community.”