By Sam Draut–

Before Louisville and Texas A&M played each other in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30, fans, students and staff of both schools joined together for a service project.

More than a hundred volunteers worked for a few hours on the morning of the game at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville, Tennessee.

The large group of volunteers assisted with food sorting projects that would eventually be sent to children, families and seniors around the Nashville area. U of L volunteers included Dean of Students Michael Mardis and Director of University Programming Mark Hebert.

“We started getting involved in service projects in bowls in 2013 at the Sugar Bowl. We served in some of the areas that we devastated by Hurricane Katrina,” Mardis said. “We have continued that every year. We have served at every bowl. We go to a lot of bowls, so we get to consistently do this.”

Beyond providing help at the Second Harvest Food Bank, U of L delivered more than 430 pounds of food to the non-profit organization.

“Our students are learning the importance of giving back to the community,” Mardis said. “We do that in the classroom, we do that outside of the classroom and we want to do that in the communities we go into as well. So, we look for ways to serve.”

With the mission of solving hunger issues in the community, Second Harvest Food Bank opened in 1978 to provide help and food for residents living in the Middle Tennessee area.

Cardinal fans, students and alums of all ages said the project was rewarding and an equally fun part of their trip to Nashville.

“As an alum, it’s good to give back and contribute to the communities where our team travels,” U of L alum Jason Meriwether said.

Freshman Emily Hardesty said the service project helps the image of University of Louisville while also allowing the volunteers to learn about the other schools participating.

U of L students interested in service opportunities and projects can contact the Office of Community Engagement to learn more.

Photo by Sam Draut / The Louisville Cardinal