School 'Food Fight' benefits local pantry

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

The words "food fight" might conjure up images of the messy free-for-all in the movie "Animal House," but the "Food Fight" under way now in Greencastle-Antrim schools will help fill the shelves of the food pantry at Greencastle Presbyterian Church.

Schools across the district are vying for bragging rights and titles like Champion of Cans and Beast of Boxes in a new twist on the food drive organized as part of Make-A-Difference Day at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School.

This is the first year for a competition among the buildings, according to Eric Bowman, a seventh-grade science teacher who is leading the group collecting food with Matt Beckering, seventh-grade social studies teacher.

For Make-A-Difference Day on Oct. 25, G-AMS students can choose from a number of activities, from cleanups in the community, Cowans Gap and Gettysburg to organizing activities for autistic students and lending a hand at the library.

"There are a wide variety of projects ... it is a very impactful day at G-AMS," Bowman said.

The day begins with an assembly in the high school auditorium featuring someone speaking on what they do in the community or the importance of volunteerism before students disperse to make a difference.

The "Food Fight" has already started, with giant watermelon boxes set up at the high school, elementary school and primary school. At the middle school, classrooms also compete with the winner getting an ice cream party.

Community members can get involved, too. There are collection sites at WRGG and Sunnyway Foods, where donations can be made to up the totals for the different schools.

In each of the last three years, just under 2,000 items have been donated, filling a good part of the middle school cafeteria. Bowman hopes the added excitement of "Food Fight" will push the collection over 2,000 this year.

All kinds of canned products are needed, including fruits, vegetables, meats, soups or stews, as well as pasta, spaghetti sauce, boxed mixes from mac and cheese and potatoes to cookies and cakes, and cereal.

Barb Grane, a retired middle school family and consumer sciences teacher, is among the food pantry representatives who will go to the middle school to collect the donations.

She talks to the students about the food pantry. Grane asks about how many times their family does grocery shopping in a month and how many bags of food they buy. Then she will show them a box of food that must last some families a month.

"That's the most impactful," Bowman said.

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