BLACKSBURG, Va. – Hokies for the Hungry has been a Virginia Tech tradition for more than 25 years.
Every year, Hokies for the Hungry collects canned food donations for the Montgomery County Christmas Store in Christiansburg.
The organization originated from Tau Beta Sigma, a band service sorority, and has evolved over time to include the Marching Virginians.
“This year we decided that since [Tau Beta Sigma] started Hokies for the Hungry, we should be a lot more involved,” said Callie Ayala, head manager for the Marching Virginians and president and public relations representative for Tau Beta Sigma. “So, we kind of took over the event.”
On the last Virginia Tech home football game of the season on Nov. 13, the Marching Virginians split up into eight groups and dispersed to different tailgates located around Lane Stadium.
At each of the tailgates, fans could choose a song for the band to play. After their performance, the band members would collect donations.
“We specifically pick the football game right before Thanksgiving because the canned food items are put together in packages,” said Polly Middleton, director of the Marching Virginians. “Families that may need help affording the ingredients they would need for Thanksgiving can come get a turkey along with canned and nonperishable items.”
The Marching Virginians were able to collect more than double the cans than they ever had before, with totals amounting to more than 20,000 food items.
The band also raised approximately $20,000 in cash, Venmo and PayPal donations.