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The Clemson-South Carolina football showdown is next week, but the competition between the schools’ fans is ongoing in another annual feature of the rivalry.

The universities are taking part in the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series Food Drive in a coordinated effort to benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank and Golden Harvest Food Bank and tackle hunger in the state. The winner will be announced at the Carolina-Clemson game at Clemson on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

“South Carolina’s farmers have dedicated their lives to providing fresh food for people everywhere,” Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said. “We’re honored to be able to help fight the hunger issues across South Carolina and put food on the tables of our friends and families in need.”

The university that raises the most donations in non-perishable foods by Nov. 18 will earn a point for their school toward the 2018-19 Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series standings. Collected food donations between the two schools will be measured in pounds, and money donated will be converted to a number of pounds via an equation used by Harvest Hope and Golden Harvest.

“The Clemson community really pulls together for the Palmetto Series Food Drive, and we see donations from students to athletic coaches to alumni,” said Travis McNeal, Golden Harvest executive director. “Beyond the competition, they’re truly motivated to feed hungry families.”

In South Carolina, one in six people struggles to find where the next meal will come from, and one in five children will go to bed hungry every night. By participating in the Palmetto Series Food Drive, Gamecock and Tiger fans alike will come together to fight the statewide battle of food insecurities and support Harvest Hope and Golden Harvest.

"The Palmetto Series is a great way to celebrate the rivalry in our state, while giving back to our community," said Keith Ferrell, Harvest Hope Food Bank interim CEO. "Whether you're a Gamecock or Tiger fan, you can help in the fight against hunger."

Donations of food items can be made at Bi-Lo stores in Columbia and the Upstate, and at locations on the campuses in Columbia and Clemson. While it may not be practical for most to travel to donate food items, there is a way to compete from The T&D Region. Visit https://goldenharvest.org/donate/?oper=donate&freq=once&prog=13 or https://donate.harvesthope.org to donate online.

The food drive puts focus on another issue surrounding hunger in South Carolina. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, S.C. Department of Commerce and S.C. Department of Agriculture are partners in a campaign to reduce the No. 1 item thrown away in the state: food.

Don't Waste Food S.C. is aimed at educating and empowering individuals, businesses and communities to take action by preventing, composting or donating surplus food. The campaign is working toward a goal of reducing food waste in the state by 50 percent by 2030.

The partners are working together to connect food surpluses to those in need, enhance infrastructure for composting and educate consumers, communities and businesses about what they can do to join the initiative.

By taking part in both the competitive food drive and the don’t-waste-food effort, the people of the state can fight hunger and help their neighbors. And that is something about which Clemson and Carolina fans can agree.

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