MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Southern Mississippi University and Rice University football teams spent the day in the Mobile community with Feeding the Gulf Coast and The Prodisee Pantry ahead of their matchup in the 2022 LendingTree Bowl, according to a release.

The Golden Eagles spent Thursday afternoon at the Prodisee Pantry in Spanish Fort. The Owls worked with Feeding the Gulf Coast in the morning.

“It means so much,” said Michael Ledger, President and CEO of Feeding the Gulf Coast. “Volunteers are so important to our organization and community every day. We are so proud to have community members stand alongside and support this mission, and to have the LendingTree Bowl and Rice football team, working so hard to put this all together.

The Golden Eagles team helped pack food boxes for “families who are having trouble making ends meet.” Each box was worth $250 which included fruits and vegetables, canned goods and dry goods, meat and regular emergency food.

“We [were] super excited to have the Southern Miss football team here packing food boxes, so we can provide those for a big Christmas distribution this coming Sunday,” said Deann Sevros, the executive director of Prodisee Pantry. “These players [were] here today making Christmas merry for hundreds of families in Baldwin County.”

Freshmen tight end Evan McNally said it was a great opportunity for their football program to give back.

“We don’t get to do much as far as service, so I feel like it’s great to come out and help the people that are really in need and give back to the community,” said McNally.

The Owls packed nearly 400 boxes of food filled with canned goods and dry goods for seniors and canned good, mac and cheese, oatmeal and snacks for children’s backpacks. The bags were put in large boxes and placed into pallets.

Defensive lineman Izeya Floyd said one of the best parts of these bowl games is getting to be in the community.

“It’s the best feeling,” said Floyd. “I am glad to be out here today with my team and the LendingTree Bowl staff and give to the local community. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Southern Mississippi (6-6) and Owls (5-7) are set to play on Saturday, Dec. 17 at Hancock-Whitney Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. CT and the game will be aired on ESPN.