The Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) is sponsoring a “Time to Give, Grinches” bowling tournament with all proceeds going to food pantries at local colleges and universities.
It’s all part of a public service initiative to give back to the community.
The AAF is considered the unifying voice of advertising and is made up of members that work at advertising agencies and marketing departments Valley-wide.
“We wanted to take on a meaningful cause and make a difference,” explained A.B. Barrera who serves as 2nd Lt. Governor of the AAF 10th District made up of chapters in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. “We’ve learned that some of our students today have to choose between buying lunch or putting gas in their cars to get to class. It’s been an ongoing problem, but the recent pandemic really brought the issue to light.”
According to the Agriculture Department, some 20 million American college and university students are facing hunger or food insecurity. The latter is defined as a household having “limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”
“This is not a local problem. This is a serious national issue,” said AAF-RGV Chapter President Maria Alvarez. “RGV colleges and universities all have food pantries to help their students and the AAF is doing its part to help these young men and women succeed at their education goals.”
Studies show that students who face insecurity about basic needs like food or housing are more likely to report experiencing poor physical health, symptoms of depression and higher stress. These same studies show that food insecurity may adversely affect students’ academic performance and ultimately impact graduation rates. In the long run, this can negatively impact a whole community.
At South Texas College, the greatest need is on the Starr County campus where the poverty rate is at 25% according to U.S. Census data.
“We not only give out food to the students; we make sure they are taking enough home for their families,” said Campus Administrator Arturo Montiel. “Any given month we have 40 to 50 students coming to the food pantry and we’re helping to feed anywhere from 165 to 200 family members.”
Local colleges and universities stock their food banks through special grants and donations or through partnerships with community food banks.
Recognizing the great need for help, the American Advertising Federation will host an ugly sweater bowling tournament December 7 at Flamingo Bowl in McAllen. Twenty-four teams will vie for bragging rights and help raise funds to fight hunger. Sponsorships of different levels are available and teams of four can sign up for $150.
“It’s a chance to have fun, network with advertising folks and all for a great cause,” said AAF member and bowling tournament organizer Kim Selber. “If you can’t come out and bowl, you can still help by being a sponsor or even sending us an HEB gift card for the college food banks to distribute to students.”
To register your team, go online at aafrgv.org or to become a sponsor or donate, call Robin Bullard at (956) 655-6824.