The tradition stems from the song "Drink A Highball," which has long been sung during this part of the game by the Penn student section. For years students actually drank a highball during the singing, until the practice was outlawed by the University. Taking their cue from the song's final line ("Here's a toast to Dear Old Penn"), and with a little inspiration from the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show -- in the audience-participation movie, there is a scene where one of the actors says "a toast" and the crowd throws toast at the screen -- a group of students started throwing toast in the mid-1970s. The tradition has stuck.
This year, the University's Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, along with Nelligan Sports Marketing, is making a donation of $500 to the St. Mary's Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen and Food Cupboard program. The church, which opened in 1883, is located in Center City. Each Saturday, the Soup Kitchen feeds an average of 100 people, while the Food Cupboard program provides bags of groceries for the needy.
The Penn/Nelligan $500 donation is being made the match the dollars that Penn Athletics spends on its "toast toss" tradition, and will be made prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.