The annual Student Food Drive Challenge runs from now through Oct. 29. Winning schools — those that collect the most pounds of food per student — will earn cash prizes.
“We have 10 schools participating this year,” said Second Harvest community relations director Kathy Smith.
Participating high schools include Dobyns-Bennett and Sullivan North in Kingsport, as well as Tri-Cities Christian School, Daniel Boone, David Crockett, Providence Academy, Elizabethton, Hampton, Cloudland and West Greene.
The winning school, based on the most pounds collected per student, will receive $500, and the second-place school receives $250. If a school reaches three pounds of food per student, they’ll get an additional $150.
“The coordinators and the teams at each school decide how they want to do their own food drive. It’s a real leadership-building activity for the students,” Smith said.
“It gives them a chance to do some community service and design activities that focus on helping feed people in Northeast Tennessee,” she added.
Last year, the 13 participating schools collected a total more than 47,000 pounds of food for Second Harvest, which serves the eight-county region incorporating Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties in Northeast Tennessee.
“It’s real appropriate that it kicks off in September because September is our Hunger Action Month,” Smith said. Throughout September, Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, is engaging citizens to take action against hunger in their own communities.
The Student Food Drive Challenge continues through Oct. 29 and the public is encouraged to support the hunger relief efforts of their favorite school by donating non-perishable food items for the drive. Non-perishable food items such as canned fruits and vegetables and canned items containing meat and other protein sources are in great demand and can be donated at any one of the participating schools.
The annual kickoff, held Tuesday, gives students an opportunity to let loose a little and build some friendly rivalries heading into the competition. Students and advisers from area high schools attended the event, which featured dinner from Simm’s Pizzeria and music by Electric 94.9.
High schools in the eight-county region served by Second Harvest are always encouraged to participate and can call the Food Bank at (423) 477-4053, ext. 224, to find out how they too can get involved in helping to feed the area’s hungry.
For more information about Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, call (423) 477-4053 or visit www.netfoodbank.org. You can follow the food drive progress online at Facebook.com/netfoodbank.