Appeal Staff Writer
Let the shelf stocking begin, after more than 70,000 cans of food were donated to help ease hunger in Carson City, especially over the holidays.
Hundreds of boxes, cans and jars of food -peaches, tomatoes, baby food, peanut butter, apple sauce -have been delivered to Friends In Service Helping.
The food drive -Trick or Treat For FISH -was adopted by Carson City's public and private schools. FISH helps needy families with food, clothing and health care.
Surveying the mountains of food and gesturing to the dozens of boxes of noodles, FISH Executive Director Monte Fast predicted the food would last until about March.
"This food will supply food baskets for about 300 at Thanksgiving and 500 at Christmas," he said. "And they're big, generous baskets. So, now we're looking for turkeys."
The annual drive, in keeping with tradition, developed a fierce sense of competition at Carson Middle School, particularly between Ananda Campbell's class and her colleague Hilary Briggeman.
The school broke all previous records and donated 47,800 cans, Campbell said.
Campbell's class collected 18,428 cans and Briggeman's class collected 20,012 cans.
This will require Campbell to relinquish her Canned Food Queen title to Briggeman.
Campbell has held the title for two years.
A formal handing-over ceremony will be hosted on Nov. 17. Joining the two teachers will be five students from each class who collected the most cans.
"We use a lot of motivational techniques to reach those numbers; it's a lot of hard work," Campbell said.
Beneath the fierce competition and the jockeying is a lesson in fostering community spirit.
"There is a great source of pride the kids have in knowing that they can help and make a difference," Campbell said.
The food drive complements the school's service learning program. This requires students to volunteer five hours of their time each quarter, which contributes to their overall grade.
Campbell is hopeful that a sense of volunteerism will come naturally to students when they become older.
That sense of volunteerism comes naturally to Jacque Woodward.
For the past eight years, she has volunteered at FISH five days a week.
"It's always overwhelming when they (the cans) arrive, but this year is more so because we have so much more to straighten and sort out," she said.
Fast said he was most appreciative for the efforts of the schools.
"We have a lot of Top Ramen, but that's OK. People can prepare it anywhere, in a motel or the back of a car," Fast said.
He said that fact that there was food in the shelter was reason enough to be grateful.