Listening to Miss America contestants say that they want to solve world hunger seems so cliché that it verges on trite. But for UA senior Jessica Procter, also known as Miss Alabama, fighting against food insecurity is more than a winning platform—it’s a passion project that, most recently, has been helping campuses across the nation to save and bring thousands of pounds of food to needy families each week.
For the project, known as Fifth Quarter, members of Alpha Gamma Delta—where Procter served as philanthropy chair—stay well after the end of UA football, basketball, and gymnastics events to collect the food that is leftover in the north and south zones as well as the skyboxes. The collected food is then donated, in collaboration with the West Alabama Food Bank to areas that struggle with food security.
“This is like 2,000 pounds of food a weekend,” Procter said. “Which is over 2,400 meals.”
According to Procter, one in eight people in the country struggle with food security, and in Alabama the ratio is even worse at one in five.
“People think that everyone has enough money for food,” Procter said. “They don’t realize this is a problem that hits so close to home.”
But Procter doesn’t just work to help people in the state. Using her Miss America platform, and with the help of her sorority, she has now brought Fifth Quarter to Auburn, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Kentucky, and the national chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta decided that because of the successes they saw at The University of Alabama, they were going to shift their international philanthropic focus from diabetes to fighting hunger, meaning more and more campuses across the country will begin to see programs like Fifth Quarter as well.
“Because of the Miss America program, I have the platform to reach so many people,” said Procter, who finished in the top seven of Miss America last year. “People listen to you when you’re wearing a crown, and because I have so many things I am passionate about, I am able to use that power for good.”