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July 25, 2014

Ever to feed


AUBURN | Ever to feed; Never to need. It's a play on Auburn's fight song and the new slogan of Auburn's hunger initiative, which is teaming with End Child Hunger in Alabama to help distribute food to families in need.

The announcement was made Friday by Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs and professional golfer Jason Dufner at the Boys and Girls Club in Auburn.

"Going to bed hungry or being hungry during a school break is unacceptable," Jacobs said. "It's time we do something about it and let's start right here in Lee County. I'm very passionate about it. It's not fair. It's an injustice, quite frankly."

The Dufner Foundation is already active in Blessing in a Backpack, which provides snacks for kids to take home with them on the weekends during the school year.

"We started looking into the numbers of child insecurity in Alabama and it was pretty shocking to us," Dufner said. "...I'm excited about the partnership with the University. I think the biggest thing is it will help create awareness. I think a lot of people will start to recognize the state of Alabama needs some help with child hunger."

According to ECHA, nearly 16 million children in America experience food insecurity including 1 million in Alabama. The goal of the ECHA is to move Alabama from the bottom one-third of states in child food insecurity to the top one-quarter.

The partnership with the University and athletic department will give Auburn's student athletes an opportunity to focus on child hunger. The basketball teams and softball teams have already participated in packing lunches for children.

"I hope it makes a difference to them," Dufner said. "I did some stuff when I was back in school. The golf part, the football part, the basketball part, whatever sport you play, that's easy. That's stuff that we love to do.

"It really takes a different mindset to get involved with things that really matter to the community. I think a lot of the athletes here really love Auburn and want to make a difference in the community."

The initiative strikes close to home for Jacobs. His family has served as a foster family for the last 10 years.

"It's another part of being a foster family and recognizing what's going on in your own community, 10 minutes from your office or home," Jacobs said. "We want to educate people and reveal to them what's actually happening around them. That's what happened to me. I didn't know. I didn't pay attention.

"I just know that the great people of Auburn, Opelika and Lee County, everybody coming together, we can cut out child hunger in this county and be a bright spot for the rest of the counties in the state of Alabama."

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