Northeast Iowa sponsored food drive kicks off

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank is sponsoring a Student Food Drive that kicked off Oct. 4 and will continue through Nov. 15. The goal of the drive is to raise money and bring in canned foods to promote hunger awareness and lessen the number of people going hungry within our community. This year’s participating schools include Cedar Falls High School, Hudson High, NU High, Union High, Valley Lutheran High, Waterloo Christian High, Waterloo East High and Waterloo West High.

Reasons the food drive is so important exceed beyond the need to satisfy hunger. Barbara Prather, Executive Producer for the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, said, “We look to this student food drive as a way for local high school students to become leaders in the community while also promoting volunteerism. The food collected goes a long way in feeding northeast Iowans, especially as we head into the holiday season.”

In 2009 the student food drive provided 45,447 pounds of food. Cedar Falls High School contributed to about half of this sum. Senior Leadership adviser Diane Flaherty expressed why it is so important that each and every student contribute. “All of us have been given a great deal. It’s our responsibility to help those in need. When one out of every eight people is at the poverty level, giving them a healthy meal gives them one less thing to worry about.”

Through its programs, the Northeast Iowa Food Bank serves at least 40,000 people annually with nearly 40 percent of that number being children. The main role of the food bank is to help those in need. Prather said a reasonable goal for this year is 50,000 pounds of food, which would provide over 38,000 meals to families in Northeast Iowa. Last year the Northeast Iowa Food Bank received about 5.7 million pounds of food. So, the 50,000 that the Student Food Drive brings in really contributes to this.

A new goal for this year’s food drive is to make it less about the personal benefits and more about the community. “Many students and possibly staff are unaware that there are a lot of (CFHS) students that use the Northeast Iowa Food Bank weekly or even daily just to have something in their stomachs. This is a real problem,” student body president Austin Javellana said. Javellana said it shouldn’t be about how much extra credit or what treats you will get if you participate; it should be for the good of the cause.

“If you have actually ever been really hungry, think of what it would have meant to have someone help you out. The need is so great, and this is one small way we can help our community. Hunger especially affects children. We can’t let kids go hungry in a community that has so much. Bring in the food until it hurts,” Flaherty said.

This is the fourth year of the is so important, and winning the competition is just a bonus,” Javellana said.

 

This year each of the leadership group is taking a week and sponsoring activities and games to make sure this food drive is a success. Senior leadership hosted the dance marathon on Oct. 9 and will host a male students vs. staff volleyball game on Oct. 15. Also, at home football and volleyball games there will be students collecting funds and cans. “The leadership groups are excited, and we are hoping that’s contagious,” Flaherty said.

“The overall goal is to raise food for the Northeast Iowa Food Bank; however, it is also extremely important that students gain leadership skills and learn the importance of volunteerism and community betterment through the six week drive,” Prather said.

Cans are being collected in third hour classrooms. “This really makes a difference. It is one of the most worthwhile events we do here at Cedar Falls,” Javellana said.

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