Can the Griz 2020

Kristen Hillman donates a box of food from Bozeman Brewing to Monica Ruiz, the special projects coordinator at the Gallatin County Food Bank, during Can the Griz on Nov. 20, 2020.

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Get your canned goods ready, because the 22nd annual Can the Griz donation drive is kicking off this weekend.

The rivalry between Montana State University and University of Montana is all in the name of seeing which school community can collect the most donations for local food banks, with MSU hoping to reclaim the title after losing to the Griz last year.

The food drive runs through Nov. 20.

The city of Bozeman is hoping to increase Can the Griz donations through a new program it’s launching this year that allows people to reduce the cost of parking tickets by donating canned goods for the drive.

People can reduce their parking citations by $2 per canned good donated, with the maximum donation of five canned goods. The reductions won’t apply to late fees or collection fees.

The program is good for citations issued in the last year, including parking garage tickets, street maintenance tickets, overtime tickets and MSU/Bozeman High School parking permit tickets.

Drop off locations will be available throughout the Can the Griz drive at the Bozeman City Hall Finance Department from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Monday to Thursday. On Fridays it will be available from 9 a.m. to noon.

“The opportunity to support this great cause and give people a chance to get their tickets paid off seemed like a perfect match for Bozeman Parking,” said Bozeman Parking Manager Mike Veselik in a news release.

There are at least eight donation sites on MSU’s campus, including Montana Hall, the Strand Union Building, the Renne Library, Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship and MSU Alumni Foundation.

Donations made on the MSU campus will stay with the university’s own food pantry, Bounty of the Bridgers.

There are just under 50 off-campus donation sites throughout the county, including both Ace Hardware locations, Big Sky post office, Gallatin Valley Mall, REI Bozeman and a handful of banks. Businesses interested in collecting canned goods can fill out an online form, with new sites added to the online list on Mondays and Thursdays.

The Gallatin Valley Food Bank’s wishlist of items to donate includes soup, peanut butter, canned fruit, pumpkin, vegetables and tomatoes, cereal, pasta, tuna and turkey.

Money can also be donated directly to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, with each dollar donated counting as one pound of food.

Last year, MSU and Bozeman donated 150 pounds of food and raised a record $252,893 for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. But it wasn’t enough to beat the Griz, with UM and Missoula collecting about 671,707 in pounds and money.

The Bobcats have beat the Griz in 17 of the last 21 years.

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Liz Weber can be reached at lweber@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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