Annual Pursuit of the Golden Can kicks off

Published on
October 17, 2018
Pursuit of the Golden Can logo

The Union College community is ready to rise to the challenge in the Pursuit of the Golden Can, an annual food drive initiative created by Kentucky Harvest Southeast.

The Pursuit of the Golden Can is an annual competition between Union College and neighboring University of the Cumberlands. The Union College and Barbourville communities are encouraged to collect and donate canned goods, bottled drinks, and other food items. The award, a golden can trophy, is based on the total weight of food collected. The poundage gets divided by the number of residential students on campus for a total of food donated per residential student per campus. Whichever of those numbers is greater is determined the winner.

“Each year the Pursuit of the Golden Can is one of the many ways Union tries to give back to the community,” said James Becknell, Union College Direct of Civic Engagement “We collect can food and distribute to local food pantries to help those in need during the holiday season. Last year we raised 28,000 pounds of food and we are looking to reproduce those donations again. We cannot do it without you! Please donate today!”

Acceptable food items include:

  • Meal kits that include canned meat, canned sauce & pasta all in a box
  • Pancake & muffin mix that only requires water
  • Soup or even canned or pasta meals
  • Canned meats such as tuna, chicken, salmon or spam
  • Canned vegetables such as green beans, corn, peas, carrots, spinach, or potatoes
  • Oatmeal & cereal
  • Instant potatoes
  • Boxes of flavored rice
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Peanut butter
  • Pastas and Sauces
  • Canned beans: Baked, Pork & Beans, Pinto, Kidney, Black & Northern Beans
  • Crackers
  • Canned fruits
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Juice boxes


In addition to food being collected on campus by students and staff, community members are urged to collect food and contribute to the initiative. A number of community businesses and partners support the food drive each year. Monetary donations are also accepted and are used to purchase food locally for the program. Currently, Pursuit of the Golden Can collection bins are placed in buildings across the Union College campus.

Kentucky Harvest Southeast works to ensure all donations are distributed to local families through local food banks.

To support the Pursuit of the Golden Can, contact James Becknell, Director of Civic Engagement, at 606.546.1759 or email