Digging in

Canned food drive collects much needed resources and amps up the competition

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For 22 years, StuCo has hosted a canned food drive, giving students the opportunity to donate canned and boxed foods to local food banks to serve those who do not have food for Thanksgiving.

“Students are super passionate about what we are doing,” Taylor Parish, StuCo chair, said. “We’re doing something that’s bigger than us. ”

The goal for this year was 30,000 cans.

“We want to set a goal that’s high but reachable,” Mr. Andy Gensler, StuCo sponsor, said. “If you set it too high, then people won’t donate as much because they think they can’t reach it.”

StuCo motivates students to donate through two competitions. During fifth hour each day, Mr. Gensler announced the leaders of the fifth hour classrooms and the rankings of each of the four grade levels over the intercom.

The winning grade level received a pizza party for all students that donated over 20 cans and the top five classes received an ice cream party.

Seniors started this year with a strong lead but began to fall to the juniors in week two. Juniors held the lead through the final day.

“It’s awesome to help those less fortunate but have some fun while doing it,” Robby Brooks (11) said. “It made it even better that the juniors won, but that’s not all that matters in the end.”

On the final day, the juniors and seniors fought it out for the price of first place.

  • The junior class collected the most with 9,624 points.
  • The seniors took second with 7,753 points.
  • The sophomores gathered 6,106 points.
  • The freshmen took last with 5,529 points.

StuCo assigned points to each product based on nutritional value. For example, peanut butter, a nutritious food, was worth three points, while Ramen noodles were only half a point.

“My favorite part is getting here early in the morning and helping people with donations,” Kennedy Baker, StuCo chair, said. “It’s awesome to see people get so excited about it. ”

In the fifth hour class competition, Mrs. Ellen Garner’s AP Government class took first place with an average of 113.19 cans per person. Mrs. Garner declined to comment.

“I brought in a lot of cans partly because I wanted to see our class win but more importantly because it goes to people who need them,” Austin Vardeman, Mrs. Garner’s fifth hour student, said. “Teamwork was a really important part in this.”

  • Mrs. Elisha Strecker’s Video Production and Digital Media Production took second behind Mrs. Garner’s class with 103.1 points per person.
  • With an average of 69 points per person, Mr. Andy Gensler’s ALARP 1 class landed in third place.

“The part that matters to me the most is not who wins at the end of the day,” Maddie Ripson, StuCo volunteer, said. “It’s the fact that by bringing in a few food items, you can help add a little bit of sparkle to someone’s day.”

StuCo collected a total of 25,116 donations this year. In the past 22 years, EHS has donated a total of 658,317 items to local food pantries.

“I love bringing in a lot of cans for the canned food drive because I’m really competitive,” Jessie Stalter, StuCo volunteer, said. “I wanted my fifth hour and the juniors to win but also because I love knowing that I’m able to help people.”

StuCo volunteers loaded boxes from the Commons and sent to food pantries in the St. Louis area over the following weeks.

“Our high school has a great reputation for the drive. We bring in thousands and thousands of cans every year,” Parish said. “These donations help people have food for the holidays and feed their families.”

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