Backpack food donations sought on May 23 for Champions of Character program, part of NAIA Track & Field Championships

May 18, 2018
NAIA Champions of Character

The Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, in partnership with the City of Gulf Shores, is gearing up to welcome the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on May 24-26. During the championship week, there will be over 1,200 athletes representing nearly 140 schools across the county. This will be the fifth year of the championships being held in Gulf Shores at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.

Each year of the championship, the NAIA encourages athletes to participate in the Champions of Character program that the host sets up. All efforts are done to benefit and give back to the host community. This year, the program has partnered with Feeding the Coast with their Backpack Program. The program helps meet the needs of chronically hungry children by providing them with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home on weekends and school vacations when other resources are not available.

The teams that qualify for nationals have flyer information about the Backpack Program and will be collecting food items on their campuses and communities to bring and donate during the week of the championship. The Sports Commission is working to make this year’s event a larger outreach and invites the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores businesses and community to participate as well.

Backpack donation items that are needed include:

  • Pop-top Meals - These can be of any brand or flavor as long as they have the pop-top.  The pop-tops can be the store brand. Some examples include: Campbell’s, Progresso, and Chunky soups; Easy Mac (single serving packets); Chef Boyardee’s, Beefaroni, or store brand of canned meats and pastas such as beef ravioli, macaroni, chicken alfredo, beef lasagna, - any flavor would be perfect.
  • Snack Items: Pudding Cups/Pudding Squeezers, Fruit Snacks/fruit gummies, Fruit Cups, Applesauce, Crackers and pretzels (single serving packets).
  • Breakfast Items: Instant Grits (single serving packets) and Breakfast Bars (granola bar, oatmeal bar).

Food items need to be delivered to the Gulf Shores Welcome Center on Wednesday, May 23, between 9-10:30 a.m. Athletes will be there to help you unload items and will be sorting the items for the Backpack Program.

If you have questions, email Taylor Smith at