Aggies Can is an event run by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) that focuses on collecting canned goods and donations to give to local food banks.
The event started in 2000 when a group of student-athletes decided to give back to the community. Aggies Can started out with one food drive at each home football game and has since grown into the largest student-athlete volunteer-run canned food drive in the country, according to the Aggies Can website. The main goal of this event is to help the people of Brazos Valley. The SAAC will be collecting at home athletic events starting Oct. 27 until Nov. 2.
Psychology junior Rachel Bernardo, vice president of records and finance for the SAAC, said once people hear where all the donations are going, they are excited to contribute.
“For the most part, all of our donations go to the Brazos Valley Food Bank, and then a small portion of what we collect goes to the 12th Can Pantry here on campus," Bernardo said. "Really people just love getting to interact with us and, I guess, and kind of hear why we’re out here holding buckets asking for money.”
Another student-run organization is the 12th Can Food Pantry. Aggies saw an opportunity to help their community and that inspired the creation of the 12th Can. Soon after the organization began, they partnered up with Aggies Can, said business junior Kelly Villarreal, assistant director for the 12th Can.
"It basically came from the student body president back then, John Claybrook," Villarreal said. "He visited a couple universities across the nation, and he basically saw some food pantries there and thought it was a great idea, and he brought it back.”
Bernardo said the students that come to support the games are also happy to support the athletes' cause in collecting food.
“It’s a good way to give back to our local community because as student-athletes, there are people at our games supporting us,” Bernardo said. “People are just really grateful to hear where donations are going.”
Every year, Bernardo said they try to collect more and more to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. This year, Aggies Can donated over 390 pounds.
“In the past, we’ve always been able to donate a significant amount to the Brazos Valley Food Bank, but this year we set a goal of 30,000 meals," Bernardo said. "The conversion is $1 is equal to five meals. This year, we’re looking to expand our reach to help us hit that goal.”
Lauren Burge, community engagement manager for the Brazos Valley Food Bank, said Aggies Can has been a great help.
“We’re very thankful for the partnership that we have with Aggies Can," Burge said. "It’s a great way for the community to rally together for a good cause."
Bernardo said they created new ways for people to donate to ensure that they get as much as possible to give to the 12th Can and Brazos Valley Food Bank.
“We have an online link that people can donate through, whereas in the past, we just collected canned goods and donations online," Bernardo said. "That’s hopefully going to help us reach our goal this year.”
Bernardo is very grateful to the people who donate and is happy to have the opportunity to help her community.
“I think it’s important for people to know that we appreciate what the community does for us," Bernardo said. "Obviously in Aggieland, people are so incredibly supportive and will give it all. So, this is just our way of giving back and saying thank you.”
More information about Aggies Can is available at https://12thman.com/sports/2019/10/2/aggies-can-2019.aspx
You can also text AGGIESCAN to 313131 to make a monetary donation.