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Hunger Beat

Tribune columnist turns partisan competition into record donations

Rex Huppke doesn’t shy away from today’s polarizing political divide.

Instead, he channels it for good.

For the past three years, the Chicago Tribune’s left-leaning humor columnist has partnered with the Food Depository for his annual Insult-A-Columnist Holiday Food Drive. The virtual food drive pits Huppke’s liberal supporters against his conservative adversaries, encouraging participants to donate on behalf of Teams RexRocks or RexStinks.

This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Huppke’s fans – and foes – delivered. The 2020 drive was the most successful yet, bringing in a whopping $246,000 to help feed families in need.

The Food Depository, a non-partisan organization, has supporters from across the political spectrum. Since the start, Huppke’s drives have proven just that, yielding more than $100,000 in both 2018 and 2019.

And this holiday season, while serving an unprecedented number of families seeking food assistance because of the ongoing pandemic, the Food Depository needed more community support to meet the growing need.

“At the end of one of the worst years in American history, a year of quarantines and sickness, political upheaval and division?” Huppke said. “I’ll be darned if people didn’t donate even more. A lot more.”

Like years past, RexRocks came out on top – with a total of more than $175,000. At nearly $71,000, Team RexStinks still raised nearly double what it did last year.

Win or lose, both teams stepped up for their neighbors in need. Together, their donations will help purchase the equivalent of nearly 740,00 meals. Those funds are distributed to the Food Depository’s hundreds of community partners – food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other similar food assistance programs – across Cook County.

“It reminds me of the good in everyone, and the capacity we have to make substantial differences in the world around us,” Huppke said about this year’s record-breaking results. “And that’s a gift.”

“I’m beyond grateful to everyone who donated, from a few bucks to tens of thousands of dollars,” he went on to say. “It all adds up. And it all makes the world a better place.”

Start or participate in a virtual food drive.


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