Canned food drive improves community


Ellie Renshaw

Ms. Moy’s 3rd period B/C Calculus class is in the lead in the canned food drive contest.

Ellie Renshaw, Online Editor-in-Chief

The Student Government Association sponsors a four-week-long canned food drive each fall. This year, it began on Halloween and will end on Nov. 23, the half day before Thanksgiving break.

While the collection started on Oct. 31, SGA has been planning for the event since last year’s drive ended, launching advertisements right after homecoming. Announcements on the Madison News Network and creative posters in the hallways alert the Madison community about the charitable event.

This year, SGA reflected upon and improved the donation system to maximize student participation and the amount of food raised. They focused on keeping students interested in donating throughout the whole drive.

On the surface, people are more likely to donate if they get something in return. Recognizing this, SGA is continuing to use a points system on the food to offer individual prizes. Each week has a focus category, and every item brought in during its category week earns double the points.

Perhaps even more effective, the can drive has become a competition.  Third period classes compete with one another to donate the most food and maximize points to win the ultimate prize: a class breakfast. Teachers get into the fun, too, encouraging their classes and donating food themselves, competing as much as the students.

“When you yourself get really excited about winning, it motivates students to get really excited as well. I make an active effort to get the students involved. It’s another opportunity for me to create a welcoming classroom environment and group camaraderie,” math teacher Susan Moy said. “As much as we’d like to help people in need, students need an external motivation.”

Motivation within classrooms is important, SGA has noticed. The giving spirit of a group of kids can be dimmed if some act negatively.

“[Last year,] there were certain classes that were great about bringing cans, then there were others that brought zero, so we are working to change the message so that it’s about wanting to help families that really need the food,” Ryan Carney (’19) said, explaining one negative effect of the competition.

Though some may feel discouraged if they are not in the winning class, others donate as much as possible anyway.

“Because it falls into third period, and we see them every day, we get extra motivation. Also, the idea that it’s going to a food bank in our area is heart-warming,” Julia Hakeem (’18) said.

The SGA plans to stock the shelves at Food for Others with 10,000 pounds of food, to be weighed at the end of the collection.