(UM News Service) First, the University of Montana Grizzly football team mauled the Montana State Bobcats 37-7 during the 122nd Brawl of the Wild. Then Griz fans won the battle for kindness and charity, dominating their Bobcat counterparts in the annual Can the Cats Food Drive, which benefits those facing food insecurity during the holidays.

UM and its community supporters raised more than 870,000 pounds in food and monetary donations, which was far and away the most ever raised during Can the Cats. Bobcat supporters contributed nearly 600,000 during their parallel Can the Griz food drive.

“What a tremendous outpouring of love and support for a great cause,” said Karen Schlatter, a UM organizer of the event. “Here in Montana, it’s part of our DNA to help our neighbors. But evidently our powerful Griz-Cat rivalry also helps boost our generosity.

“This win ranged from $2 gifts from students who don’t have a lot of money to major gifts that put us over the top,” she said. “I couldn’t be more thankful and proud of all those who contributed, on both sides of the Divide.”

The Can the Cats food drive ran Nov. 4-18. Sponsored by UM, the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center, and Clearwater Credit Union, the drive benefits the community food bank and UM Food Pantry. Local businesses, organizations and businesses donated food items and money. Each $1 donated equates to a pound of food. Last year’s Can the Cats earned about 450,000 pounds in food and donations.

The on-campus UM Food Pantry collected nearly $8,500 from UM Dining and students. They also took in $6,300 from additional donations and 1,800 pounds of food from Associated Students of UM food drives. Additional donations went straight to the Missoula Food Bank, which will help the UM Food Pantry restock throughout the year as needed.

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