BOISE, Idaho — While players like BYU's Puka Nacua and Boise State's Taylen Green had a big impact on the field during Saturday's rivalry matchup, one group had a big impact on the Boise community before gameday.
BYU's alumni group hosted a tailgate where they collected food and clothing for two local organizations.
The rivalry was put on hold for a few hours before kickoff, as fans from both teams were invited to come together and bring donations for the Boise Rescue Mission and the Campus Food Pantry at Boise State University.
“The motto of BYU is ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve,' so the BYU Alumni Association exists to help achieve that mission," TJ Bliss, the mountain chapter director for BYU's alumni board said. "As we serve together we build bridges, we come together even in the midst of a rivalry game, there’s some animosity sometimes. We all have needs, we all have people that we can serve and so this is just a great opportunity to live that mission and show how we could do good for our communities.”
Clothing donations went to the Boise Rescue Mission, a ministry that provides services for the homeless. They provide emergency shelter, meals, and offer support programs.
“As the weather is getting colder we need a lot of warm things - coats, jackets, gloves hats. All things to keep our guests warm this season," Alicia Breslin, events manager for Boise Rescue Mission said. “The rescue mission doesn’t take any government support, so this is amazing. We’re all community-funded so events like this make it so we get the supplies that we need so we’re able to care for our neighbors.”
Food donations were given to the campus food pantry at Boise State.
"I actually work in the state with the institutions and I was chatting with the president of Boise State, Marlene Tromp, and said, 'hey what can we do to really make a difference for the Boise State community?' She said about 35% of Boise State students suffer from food insecurity or hunger," Bliss said. "They have a have a food pantry that they set up in 2018, and we decided to go together and do a food drive – both Boise State fans and BYU fans – before the game.
Boise State fans were able to drop off food in the Ford Fan Zone outside Albertons Stadium before the game. Allowing both schools to put the rivalry aside to tailgate for a cause.
“BYU is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we’re in a church building for the tailgate - which may seem odd to some people, but this is a place where people feel comfortable and it’s warm inside," Bliss said. "But this service project is really driven by Christ-like love. Whether it’s to another church – the Boise Rescue Mission, or to a university that’s a secular university. We do good for people because we follow Christ.”
Bliss says the local BYU alumni group, which has about 6,000 members, does many service projects in the community.
The clothing and food drive is connected to the football game. However, it will be the last one for a while - as Saturday's game marked twilight for the rivalry. BYU is moving to the Big 12 Conference next season, and does not have any future games scheduled against Boise State.
“We’re really wanting to come out today and just show how much we enjoy playing Boise State. BYU fans really respect Boise State," Bliss said. "Boise State has done things that no other football team like them has done. So we have a lot of respect for Boise State – I don’t know how how the Boise State fans feel about BYU, but we have a lot of respect for them and we’re really happy to be able to serve the Boise State students.”
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