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Published on July 25th, 2022 | by University of Mississippi

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Another Win from Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha business makes donation to Grove Grocery

When University of Mississippi baseball players won the College World Series in June, they indirectly scored a gift that will help feed their fellow students.

Fans from all eight CWS teams who traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, for the tournament participated in the Jello Shot Challenge, a simultaneous baseball fan competition happening just steps away from Charles Schwab Field at Rocco’s Pizza & Cantina. In stepping up to the challenge, Rebel fans out-purchased all others, and Ole Miss was named the contest’s 2022 champion.

Grateful for this unanticipated response by Ole Miss fans, Rocco’s donated $37,554 to support the Ole Miss Grove Grocery on the Oxford campus. One of Rocco’s suppliers, SLRRRP, also made a gift, bringing the total to $46,614.

“Food is a basic necessity, and it’s heartbreaking to think that many students have to sacrifice meals just to afford rent, textbooks, et cetera,” said Tina Truong, Grove Grocery’s student director. “No one should have to continuously endure this, so we do anything and everything we can to alleviate these burdens.”

The gift will enable Grove Grocery to keep the pantry stocked and potentially offer expanded resources for the community, improving its mission to help provide food and meals to students who face food insecurity.

“Honestly, it feels surreal,” Truong said. “We weren’t expecting the donation, especially one of that size, so it was a really great surprise. I’m incredibly thankful for Rocco’s, SLRRRP and the Ole Miss community.”

Rocco’s owner, Kevin Culjat, said he did not anticipate that fans would start buying in bulk for the thousands of patrons on hand for 10 days of CWS games. Many who couldn’t make the trip to Omaha even participated in the challenge by sending their friends money through Venmo.

After witnessing the extraordinary appeal of the challenge, Culjat decided to find a way to give back. Discovering the university’s food pantry on the university website, he and his wife, Bonnie, declared that for every item bought by an Ole Miss fan, they would donate $2 to the Grove Grocery.

He sees the gift as a way to thank those who participated in the challenge.

“They were very, very generous with what they tipped, and they took good care of the staff,” Culjat said. “It was a win-win-win for everybody. I think they had a wonderful time. My staff made a lot of money, and my wife and I got to donate a lot to charity.”

To make a gift to Grove Grocery, visit https://give.olemiss.edu.

By Makayla Steede

Kevin Culjat (left), owner of Rocco’s Pizza & Cantina, greets UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce and his wife, Emily, in Omaha. Submitted photo
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About the Author

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is Mississippi’s flagship university. A member of the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, Ole Miss has a long history of producing leaders in public service, business, academics and the professions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school; nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy; and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action. Acclaimed as one of the nation’s most beautiful, Ole Miss's main campus is in Oxford, which is routinely recognized as one of the nation's best college towns.



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