Penn State and Ohio State face off to 'Tackle Hunger'

October 30, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This November, Penn State and Ohio State will engage in a first-of-its-kind competition outside the football field, with the two schools facing off to see which can raise the most support for campus food pantries.

From midnight on Sunday, Nov. 17, through 11:59 pm on Saturday, Nov. 23, the Tackle Hunger Penn State vs. Ohio State Giving Challenge will raise money for each school’s respective campus food pantries, which support students experiencing food insecurity. The winner will be the school that captures the greatest number of $5 gifts, and supporters can choose to make multiple contributions. Leading up to Thanksgiving, the competition is a chance to rally alumni, students and friends around the issue of student food insecurity — and leading up to the Penn State vs. Ohio State football game, it’s a chance to earn ultimate fan bragging rights.

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A portrait of AmeriCorps VISTA member Rob Felger in the Penn State Behrend Lion's Pantry.

Rob Felger manages the Lion's Pantry at Penn State Behrend. He distributes food to 15 students every week.

IMAGE: Penn State Behrend

“The Tackle Hunger Giving Challenge is an opportunity to create awareness around an issue that affects far too many college students,” said Jenny Daigle Benoit, executive director of annual giving at Penn State. “Well over a third of college students in the U.S. are dealing with food insecurity. These students sometimes have to choose between buying textbooks or going to the grocery store, and without balanced diets, their health and academics suffer.”

Gifts made by Penn State alumni and friends to the Tackle Student Hunger Fund will be directed by the Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose to support Penn State food pantries across the commonwealth where student need is greatest. Every $5 gift provides 20 to 25 meals or may be used to help stock pantries with other basic need items like toiletries and paper products.

“This is a unique and exciting challenge,” said Rich Bundy, vice president for development and alumni relations at Penn State. “Yes, it’s a chance to compete with our football rival, especially leading up to our teams meeting in Columbus. But more importantly, we are shedding light on the personal hardships that can compromise our students’ education, and we are raising critical support to help Penn Staters stay in school and earn their degrees.”

Gifts must be made to the Tackle Student Hunger Fund to count in the challenge totals. More information about the Tackle Hunger Giving Challenge can be found at and once the challenge goes live, gifts may be made through the event website or by texting BEATOSU to 71777. During the challenge week, information, updates and current challenge standings will be available across Penn State’s digital platforms, including Raise Penn State on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and on Intercollegiate Athletics and the general Penn State pages. Penn State alumni and friends are encouraged to share information about the challenge with their personal networks.

Kirsten Tercek, Lions Pantry

Kirsten Tercek, Wiestling Student Center assistant, labels and restocks the Lion’s Pantry at Penn State Mont Alto.

IMAGE: Debra Collins

“It’s going to take our full community’s passion, pride and heart to win this one,” said Daigle Benoit. “We are depending on our supporters to tell friends and family, post competition details online, and let everyone know they are showing up for Penn Staters who need a hand.”

Gifts made to the Tackle Hunger Giving Challenge will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

If you have questions about the Tackle Hunger Giving Challenge, contact the Office of Annual Giving at 814-863-2052.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 09, 2019