Friendly Brawl: UM Launches Annual Can the Cats Food Drive

MISSOULA – Before their football teams clash in the state’s biggest game of the year, the University of Montana in Missoula and Montana State University in Bozeman once again will compete in a food drive to benefit area charities.

Now in its 23rd year, UM’s Can the Cats Food Drive launches Saturday, Nov. 5, and will run until the Griz-Cat game on Saturday, Nov. 19, in Bozeman, when the food drive winner will be announced.

“We need everyone to help us can those Cats!” said Kat Cowley, who directs Associated Students of UM Bear Necessities and the UM Food Pantry. “The benefits of this yearly competition cannot be overstated. Every year, Can the Cats provides local food banks and pantries with increased abundance. Last year, the UM and Missoula communities donated nearly 600,000 pounds.”

In Missoula, proceeds are split between the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center and the UM Food Pantry. All food donated on campus benefits the food pantry, while monetary donations and food collected off campus go to the Missoula Food Bank.

This year, the food bank, the food pantry, Clearwater Credit Union and other community partners hope to Can the Cats with a donation goal of 450,000 pounds. All donations collected in the Missoula area during the drive stay local. More information about Can the Cats, including participating businesses and drop-off locations, is available online at

On the UM campus, look for plastic bins labeled “Donate Here.” The campus community also can donate money or dining plan funds (where accepted) at all Campus Dining locations, as well as UM concession stands during games. UM also has fun competitions planned involving cooking, Tetris, UM eSports and more.

Interested in getting involved? On Saturday, Nov. 12, Bear Necessities at UM is looking for volunteers to help collect food donations from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Griz game against Eastern Washington. Sign up for a shift on Signup Genius, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the ASUM Bear Necessities office with any questions at 406-243-2017.


Contact: Kat Cowley, director, UM Bear Necessities, 406-243-2017,; Kenzie Carter, program coordinator, Bear Necessities and UM Food Pantry, 406-243-4331,