By Michelle Jenck, Tillamook County Wellness Coordinator
One food drive is better than two. Tillamook High School’s Associated Student Body (ASB) teamed up with FFA to hold a community-wide canned food drive last week. The effort was a huge success, bringing in a grand total of over 4,500 food items in just 5 days, a significant increase over last year’s total of about 1,000 items.
Student-led support of our local Food Bank has been happening for years. Both the ASB and FFA have been conducting their own annual food drives for as long as anyone can remember. The secret to this year’s success can be summed up in two words: Teamwork and Fun.
This year, organizers decided to try some new tactics. In addition to combining the two separate food drives into one, they added daily incentives and competitions to increase participation. The senior and freshmen classes competed as one team against the combined junior and sophomore classes. They offered “food-for-food” incentives like getting 2 cookies at lunch for a 2-can donation or a longer lunch period for 50% class participation. “Cheeseblock” classes competed to win a pizza party, resulting in the largest haul of 1,800 items in one day.
Food donations were not limited to in-school activities. The community was invited to drop items off all week as well as donate food in lieu of paying admission to school sports events throughout the week. Paper bags were distributed throughout neighborhoods and students returned to collect many items.
Rachelle Metcalfe, ASB advisor, said she was very pleased with the overall outcome. “I am so proud of our student body. They really stepped up to make this such a success. And they made it fun for everybody.” Metcalfe noted that the event provided a good learning experience in that students had to consider the fact that not all families would be able to contribute food items. Student organizers strategized ways that would allow all students to benefit, while, at the same time, incentivizing participation.
Everyone benefits from activities like this that build community inside the school and out. This is what Wellness is all about. For more information about Tillamook County Wellness, go to www.tillamoocountyhealthmatters.org