College football, tailgating and giving back to help children in need during this holiday season all came together Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Fans attending Saturday night’s football game between Duke University and Wake Forest University were asked to bring more than their school spirit. Some Blue Devil and Demon Deacon fans also brought donations to put in care packages for patients at Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center’s neonatal intensive care unit.
“We heard about it and decided to help,” said Beth Bynum, 57, of Hillsborough. “Anytime we can donate, we feel honored.”
Bynum and her mother, Jane, 85, donated receiving blankets and burp cloths.
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Duke’s last football game of the regular season marked the culmination of the season-long Recycle For The Children fundraising campaign.
All football season, materials such as aluminum and plastic bottles are collected at every home game and sold to be recycled, raising funds and helping make zero waste at Wallace Wade. In the past three years, Duke Athletics and Duke Recycles, which is part of the university’s Facilities Management Department, have raised more than $3,500 for Duke Children’s Hospital.
To help cap off the fundraising campaign, Two Men And A Truck brought a 26-foot box truck to the stadium on Saturday. The moving company was out to fill the truck with items such as onesies, receiving blankets, children’s books, travel-size toiletries, hand sanitizer, tissues and journals.
“We have a good relationship with Duke Athletics and we heard about the program with Duke Recycles and just wanted to jump on board any way we could,” said Tyler Stevens, a spokesman for Two Men And A Truck.
Saturday’s donations were collected at the east and west entrance gates as well as the company’s truck at Blue Devil Alley, where fans tailgate before home football games. Organizers said they collected a total of 550 items.
As an incentive, fans who donated items or cash were entered in a raffle for a chance to win prizes such as a football signed by Duke head coach David Cutcliffe, a poster signed by the seniors on the football team and a stadium blanket.
Cutcliffe is also matching the total money raised by Recycle for the Children.
“Recycle for the Children helps new parents at Duke Children’s Hospital while also helping make Wallace Wade Stadium the first zero waste stadium in the ACC, a win-win for everyone involved,” Cutcliffe said in a written statement. “It is inspiring to see more and more donations collected every year.”
The chance to win the signed football helped motivate Jacob Barringer, 15, to bring receiving blankets from Monroe, three hours away in Union County. Jacob and his mother, Lisa, were attending their one Duke football game of the season.
“We always try to do several different Christmas giving opportunities every year,” said Lisa Barringer, 55.
Mark Naslund, 11, of Raleigh brought hand sanitizer and tissues to the game after hearing announcements about the donations at the previous game against UNC-Chapel Hill.
“That’s him,” said Rob Naslund, 45, Mark’s father. “He really cares about other people.”