Battle of the cans heats up
By RITA FARLOW
Published November 8, 2006
The gauntlet - or in this case the can of chicken noodle soup - has been thrown.
St. Petersburg Catholic High School has collected canned goods to support local charity Daystar Life Center for the past 10 years. But this year, students have an added incentive: a good-natured competition with Clearwater Central Catholic High School.
"They wanted to step it up this year, so they think this is the year they can beat us," said St. Pete Catholic youth minister Kim Paczynski.
The Clearwater students have their work cut out for them. Last year, the St. Petersburg school collected 101,000 cans, surpassing the goal of 80,000. The Clearwater school collected 32,000 cans during its drive last fall.
Clearwater campus ministry director Linda Condon said her school's organized drive is only 4 years old, but is growing each year.
"Last year we did a good job, but this year we're really going to give them a run for their money," Condon said, adding that their canned goods will be donated to RCS Food Bank in Clearwater.
Both schools have gotten creative about soliciting donations. Students are leaving bags on neighbors' doorsteps with a note explaining the project. They'll pick them up later.
"One boy told me they went out and covered 200 houses last night," Condon said.
Each school is also hosting theme days, where students who bring in a specified item are rewarded with small treats. SPC will host a Price Is Right game show night on Tuesday and CCC has a Battle of the Bands event scheduled. Admission for both events is canned food items.
Condon said her kids are having fun competing with SPC, but recognize the drive has a higher purpose. "In the end they just do it for the pride of doing it and the joy that comes from giving," she said.
Food drive committee chair Lisa Vallin, 17, said the friendly competition is meant to motivate kids from both schools to contribute as much as possible. "The challenge is more to help out the community than beating someone else," Vallin said.
SPC senior Joey Shafer said he and his classmates are proud to help provide for those less fortunate.
"It's really important because a lot of time we realize that there are people out there who can't afford a decent meal," said Shafer, 17.
Daystar executive director Jane Trocheck Walker said the food that SPC donated last fall is just now running out. Besides feeding hundreds of families, the food donations helped free up other resources.
"Because we haven't had to spend so much money on food to round it out, we've been able to help with utility assistance, medications and transportation. Whatever we get in canned goods translates into dollars we can use in other places," Walker said.
How to help
- St. Petersburg Catholic will host a Price Is Right game show at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Admission is four canned food items or $1 for students, five items or $2 for adults. Donations can be dropped off at the school through Nov. 17. Call Kim Paczynski at 344-4065, ext. 263.
- Clearwater Central Catholic will accept donations through Nov. 16. Call Linda Condon at 531-1449, ext. 338.
What food banks really want
Canned meats/canned tuna
Macaroni and cheese
Source: Daystar Life Center in St. Petersburg.
[Last modified November 7, 2006, 20:57:33]
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