2018 River Bend Foodbank Student Hunger Drive raises over half a million meals

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- The River Bend Foodbank's Student Hunger Drive results are in, and the amount of meals raised will help 20% of area families.

Seventeen area high schools raised 624,019 meals for area families who are food insecure, a press release from the food bank states.

"Thousands of youth in our community collected well over a half million meals to help feed the 1 in 5 of their classmates who do not have enough food." River Bend Foodbank President Michael Miller said.

Mike Miller, River Bend Foodbank president & CEO, said in an email that  the student drive is now emphasizing healthy food.

"In years past, we used to get 50-pound bags of flour and sugar, and even full truckloads of fruit drink, because it was heavy and cheap," Miller said. "Students are now collecting more nutritious food than ever before."

This year was the first year the drive was actually run by River Bend Foodbank, Miller said. Instead of counting in pounds, they now counted food in meals.

The press release sites the Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap Study (2017), which states one out of every eight individuals (and one out of every five children) struggles with food insecurity locally.

However, that number is decreasing.

"Students collect foods and funds in many unique ways," the release states. "Schools organize internal school events such as collecting at football games, classroom competitions, penny wars, filling a principal’s office with donations, and even duct taping principals to the wall."

Davenport West High School took home first place in most pounds collected.

Editors Note: A previous version of the story mistook meals for pounds, comparing last year's records to this year's. River Bend Foodbank is now in charge of the drive, and the are counting the food raised in meals.