Despite 2020, Can the Cats Food Drive Continues

MISSOULA – The coronavirus canned college football across Montana this fall, but the Can the Cats food and donation drive to benefit area charities will carry on in 2020.

Now in its 21st year, the annual food drive will run Nov. 6-20. Can the Cats pits the University of Montana against Montana State to see which school can donate the most canned-food items to those in need. In past years, the competition was held in conjunction with the Griz-Cat rivalry football game.

“While we greatly miss our football games – and especially our players – this year the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center and the UM Food Pantry have partnered with Grizzly eSports and many other campus departments to creatively adapt our Can the Cats food and donation drive,” said Hilary Rosa, a UM food pantry VISTA worker. “There will still be plenty of fun ways to participate, compete and contribute to the greater Missoula community.”

After Can the Cats kicks off on Friday, Nov. 6, the Grizzly eSports team will sponsor a series of competitive events on its streaming platform, which will include a fundraising portal. All money raised while streaming will benefit the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center. Special events will include a Can the Cats Amateur Invitational, in which corporate, student and community groups can form teams and compete in head-to-head competition over two days on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7-8. Register for the Amateur Invitational online.

Instead of football, UM and MSU will compete via video games this year. On Saturday, Nov. 14, the Grizzly eSports League of Legends team will take on an MSU team for the Grizzly eSports Brawl of the Wild crown. Visit to livestream all UM eSports events during Can the Cats!

Folks wanting to make cash donations to the Missoula Food Bank can do so at every UM Campus Dining location. All registers will be programmed to accept dining plan funds, flex dollars, Bear Bucks, UMoney, cash, credit and debit from anyone who wants to participate. Generous people can also donate online at

UM Greek Life will oversee a contactless food drive in the University District on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Additionally, donation bins will be placed in all UM residence halls, the University Center Game Room, and other locations across campus and the Missoula community during Can the Cats.

All physical food collected on campus will be donated to the UM Food Pantry, which needs volunteers to help promote the drive, monitor bins and collect donations. Sign up online to help with Can the Cats, and follow all Can the Cat activities on Facebook at

Fundraising and collections will end at 7:30 pm sharp on Friday, Nov. 20.

“We are excited to see what our UM community can pull off during these unconventional times,” Rosa said. “Go Griz!”


Contact: Hilary Rosa, UM Food Pantry and MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA worker, 406-243-5125,; Amanda Ceaser, events and marketing coordinator, Missoula Food Bank & Community Center, 406-549-0543 ext. 214,