Annual food drive Radford Gives Back postponed until spring 2021

Since 2016, Radford University has successfully sponsored the Radford Gives Back canned food drive in partnership with Bobcat Backpacks, a local nonprofit.

The annual event, established as part of the inauguration celebration for President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., encourages the Radford family to donate canned food items that help underserved schoolchildren in the Radford City Public School System.

Over the years, the drive has become one of the University’s largest community outreach projects, as well as a proud and longstanding tradition. Last year, students, faculty and staff donated more than 15,000 items, a testament to the Radford family’s commitment to community service.

“Bobcat Backpacks has grown to serve Radford City’s children in large part because of the generosity of the Radford University community,” said Jenny Riffe, M.S.W. ’03, a co-founder of Bobcat Backpacks. “Since President Hemphill’s inauguration, the Radford Gives Back event has provided our program with a fourth of our budget. This security has allowed us to expand to meet the needs of more Radford children. We have forged a partnership that has shown the power of Highlander and Bobcat spirit.”

Traditionally, Radford Gives Back is held in October and culminates with a special celebration in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. First Lady Marisela Rosas Hemphill, Ph.D., keynotes the event, along with Riffe and Bobcat Backpack co-founders, Daniela Brunner ’98 and Jane Fisher ’94, M.S. ’00.

Due to the effects of COVID-19 and in the best interest of the Radford family, the fifth annual Radford Gives Back, originally planned for mid-October 2020, has been postponed to spring 2021. 

Details about the event, including a scheduled date and time, will be announced in the future.

In the meantime, Radford Gives Back Planning Committee member Teresa Dickens, assistant director of the Center for Career and Talent Development, encourages the Radford family to keep the drive and its mission in mind as we continue to rise above the challenging circumstances of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the surface the continued challenges of food insecurity in our community,” Dickens said. “Many families have lost employment or have been laid off. Projects like Radford Gives Back can make a huge difference in the well-being of our community.”

Additionally, Riffe reminds the Radford family of the monthly food drives that benefit Bobcat Backpacks. The drives are held at the Presbyterian Church of Radford. Donations should be dropped off curbside.

Bobcat Backpacks: Food Drive of the Month

October 14, 2020: Canned fruit

November 18, 2020: Canned vegetables

December 16, 2020: Peanut butter

January 13, 2021: Beanie Weenies

February 10, 2021: Ravioli and Spaghetti-O's

March 17, 2021: Microwave popcorn

April 14, 2021: Chunky soup

May 12, 2021: Macaroni and cheese

For more information about Bobcat Backpacks, email and follow the organization on Facebook and Instagram, @BobcatBackpacks.

Oct 15, 2020
Mary Hardbarger