MOUNT PLEASANT --
Children from around the Mid-Michigan area packed into Central Michigan University’s McGuirk Arena to culminate the “Hoops for Hunger” event focusing on fighting hunger in Michigan.
The participating schools helped raise the equivalent of 42,000 pounds of food between monetary donations and canned goods. Montabella Schools raised just over the equivalent of 10,000 pounds of food, and was presented with the “Spirit Cup of Giving” before the game. A $1 donation was considered the equivalent of nine pounds of food.
Hoops for Hunger began as a collaborative effort between CMU assistant basketball coach Kathy McGee and Joe Mounger, program coordinator for Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and a CMU graduate.
Hoops for Hunger was CMU’s spinoff of the ‘Spirit Squad’,” said Mounger.
“We want to make ‘Hoops for Hunger’ a model for colleges and universities across the nation,” McGee said.
This is the third year for Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and ABC12’s “Spirit Squad” competition. As part of Wednesday’s event at CMU, ABC12 broadcast live from McGuirk Arena from 5-7 a.m., with CMU’s cheer and dance teams, pep band, baseball team, field hockey team and Sports Managament Association providing an energetic atmosphere in the arena.
“The participating schools then gave the project a purpose, and it just kept growing,” said ABC12’s Marc Jacobson. “The support that CMU showed is amazing.”
According to Tracy Johnston from Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, this year’s goal is to work with Feeding America to collect 1 million pounds of food to distribute across Michigan.
“It’s great to see that kids can make a difference,” Johnston said. “This is a new generation of donors.”
“Sue’s Crew” was also on hand at the event. CMU head women’s basketball coach Sue Guevara joined the community-based group Fitness Inspired a few years ago, and they have been major supporters of the program.
“This is a great event, a great opportunity for those who have to help those who need,” Guevara said. “This will help a lot of families.”
The following schools participated in the “Hoops for Hunger” event and all schools received a plaque for their help in the fight against hunger in Michigan: Coleman Schools; Hillside Elementary, Harrison; Harrison Middle School; Mary McGuire Elementary; Morey Charter Academy; Belding Schools; Vestaburg Schools; Beal City Middle School; Winn Elementary; Ithaca North Elementary; Pine Avenue Elementary; Fancher Elementary; Sacred Heart Academy; Vowles Elementary; West Intermediate; Saginaw Chippewas Academy; Westwood Heights Middle School.
Students from the participating schools filled McGuirk Arena for the Central Michigan’s Mid-American Conference contest against Buffalo. A crowd of 4,982 saw the Bulls claim a 92-89 victory.