In 2011, the Student Hunger Drive collected 750,000 pounds of food. Did this year's group beat last year's?
On Thursday, November 8th, the River Bend Food Bank was full of food and the students who spent six weeks collecting 767,455 pounds of it. Those who attended the Student Hunger Drive's Finale Rally include representatives from 19 high schools in the Quad City area and say every can, bag, and box was worth the work.
"We really care about the community and it feels good to know we're actually doing something to help the people who are affected in our community," says Elly Hoogerwerf, a Senior at Alleman High School.
"I learned that doing this can help other people out and make me want to act better," says Tyrah Jackson, a Freshman at Wittenmyer Learning Center.
In all, there were 11 award winners this year:
Division A (Enrollment 1,251 +): 1st Place - United Township (75,619 Pounds); 2nd Place - Bettendorf High Schools (46,257 Pounds); Most Improved - Moline High School and Pleasant Valley High School
Division B (Enrollment 300-1,250): 1st Place - Alleman High School (165,249 Pounds); 2nd Place - Assumption High School (46,349 Pounds); Most Improved - Assumption High School
Division C (Enrollment 25-299): 1st Place - Rivermont Collegiate (13,634 Pounds); 2nd Place - Morning Star Academy (4,297 Pounds); Most Improved - Wittenmyer Learning Center
Division D (Enrollment 1-24): 1st Place - Heritage Christian (3,926 Pounds)
Mission Challenge: Thurgood Marshall
Alleman collected the most food, weighing in at 165,249 pounds.
"We're really excited," says Abby Johnson, a Senior at Alleman. "This is our 16th consecutive win so it's a little bit of a legacy and we just want to keep going."
Organizers say "to keep going" is key to helping the hungry. Every week, 10,000 people in our community utilize the River Bend Food Bank.
"We are the largest single donor to the River Bend Food Bank," says Denise Hester, Executive Director of the Student Hunger Drive. "We donate anywhere between 9% and 11% of their annual distribution."
In its 27th year, this friendly competition between classmates has collected more than 15 million pounds of food and organizers say they're looking forward to 27 years more.
"It never gets old," says Hester. "They're always so enthused year after year. They come in and they're so excited about giving back to our community."