ASU, UA Face off in Charity Competition

By: Allison Gatlin; The State Press

Clubs from ASU and UA started a food fight this semester, but the result will be more charitable than messy when it’s done.

Two teams from ASU and UA are competing to see which university can raise the most food and monetary donations to give to a local food bank.

In time for the holiday season, two heavyweight contenders have joined the competition against UA. Mojo Yogurt and Smashburger have partnered with club ASU4Food in the hopes of raising more than $3,000 to donate to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix.

“People go down to these places and they’re interested in getting their food,” said Jacklynne Jackson, ASU4Food’s president.

“People at the grocery store donate money — why not at a yogurt or burger place when food is actually on their mind?” said Jackson, a supply chain management and business management junior.

The idea behind the donations is similar to those solicited in grocery stores, she said. Every time a customer purchases yogurt from Mojo Yogurt, he or she is asked if they would like to donate 39 cents — the cost of an additional ounce of yogurt — for St. Mary’s Food Bank.

All four Mojo Yogurt stores began accepting donations on Nov. 15, since then the store has garnered nearly $700, said Hitesh Patel, the Mojo Yogurt co-founder and vice president of operations. He added that the hope is to raise $2,000 by the time the fundraiser ends on Dec. 15.

The motto behind Mojo Yogurt is one of peace and love, Patel said, and as part of that motto, Mojo Yogurt does a lot of work with charities.

“Our motive is about being happy and healthy, and so we do a lot of work with local charities,” Patel said. “Peace, love and happiness, the design and concept of our stores should put a smile on your face when you walk in the door.”

The Smashburger on College Avenue began accepting $1 donations on Nov. 24. Since then, the store has raised $85, said Kurt Riske, SunWest Restaurant Concepts brand manager.

Riske said he’s learned from past experience in running a contest at another restaurant that this method of raising money proves to be very effective.

“This competition should be pretty successful in raising money,” he said. “We’ve done this before with Black Bear Diner and we raised over $5,000.”

As added incentive to its customers, every person who donates will be entered into a drawing to receive a $50 gift card to Smashburger. The contest will run until Jan. 1, Riske said.

These partnerships with ASU4Food are only two of many working to raise donations for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, said spokesman Jerry Brown.

What ASU4Food is doing with Mojo Yogurt and Smashburger is very different from the usual techniques of raising money, he said.

“This is a unique approach, asking for such a specific donation every time, especially for such a low figure,” Brown said. “But it could prove to be very effective in the long run.”