Nov. 29, 2011
• 2011 Red and White Hunger Fight Photo Gallery
MADISON, Wis. -- The Red and White Hunger Fight is a food drive that was started by Wisconsin women's soccer player Michele Dalton four years ago. Dalton a redshirt senior at Wisconsin developed the idea from a similar experience in high school.
"I had no clue what I was doing four years ago," said Dalton. "I had a big idea that I was crazy enough to act upon, and enough persistence to battle through the challenges that arose. Through careful guidance from Anne Whisner, formerly with the Morgridge Center, the Red and White Hunger Fight continued to grow every year to become the successful event that it is today."
The Red and White Hunger Fight is designed to help provide Thanksgiving meals to Madison area families in need. Over its four years, food drive participants have included 21 athletic teams, 75 student organizations and 700 volunteers who have helped collect $4,400 and over 10 tons of food.
"The support from the UW student body and outlying Madison community are what continue to fuel the success of this food drive," said Dalton. "Especially around the holidays, people have numerous opportunities to participate in various fundraising efforts. I am thankful that, year after year, people still contribute to the Red and White Hunger Fight, even despite a suffering economy."
This year on Bring in Goods (BIG) Day over 200 volunteers and student-athletes worked to sort and organize the 5,172 pounds of food that were collected.
Members from the women's and men's basketball, women's and men's soccer, women's and men's swimming and diving, women's and men's crew, women's and men's track and field, women's and men's golf, women's and men's hockey, women's and men's tennis, women's and men's cross country, volleyball, wrestling and softball teams were all involved in this year's event.
"UW student-athletes are always looking for ways to get involved and give back to the community," said Dalton. "Sometimes though, it is difficult with our schedules. The Red and White Hunger Fight provides athletes a very easy avenue to work in the community and instill change with a small time commitment.
"The amount of athletes who came to the BIG Day, (more than half of the overall turn out this year) is evidence that student-athletes are willing to give back to the community given the right circumstances."
TAS (Tripp, Adams and Slichter dorms) collected 380 pounds of food, more than any other UW student organization, and was awarded the grand prize, tickets to the Wisconsin men's basketball game on Nov. 22 vs. UMKC and an on-court recognition ceremony
Dalton will be graduating from Wisconsin this year and has already taken the necessary steps to make sure the Red and White Hunger Fight is here to stay. She paired up with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in hopes that the SAAC can continue to feed those in need.
"This year I've worked closely with Prince Moody in Academic Services to ensure he knows the planning process and all that goes into the Red and White Hunger Fight," said Dalton. "I'm very confident he, along with the help of SAAC, will be successful once I'm gone.
"The Red and White Hunger Fight is a tangible example of how a large community can rally around a single cause and be extremely successful. I would like to continue to see this success grow by having more people participate in the future, by having more food and money donated, and to have more people helped because of a community desire to instill change."