In most competitions there are winners and losers. In the annual Food Bowl contest between Elma and Montesano high schools, there are no losers.
Food Bowl kicks off its holiday food drive — benefiting East County food banks — on Dec. 6 and runs through Dec. 17.
Both Montesano and Elma will conduct various events during that two-week span in the fundraising of food and monetary donations to help feed the hungry.
Montesano won last year’s Food Bowl as the two schools reaped more than 143,000 pounds of food and the equivalent in cash donations.
The need is great, as needy numbers at local food banks are skyrocketing.
They usually have 160 Thanksgiving baskets that they give out. Typically, the Montesano Food Bank had helped 120 families per month.
Lately, it’s been 140 families every two weeks, usually from folks who have had their hours cut and have few benefits.
The first indication community members will get of Food Bowl comes this weekend, when students will drop off bags for the paper bag drive. Residents are asked to put whatever non-perishable foods they can donate into the bags and leave them on the doorstep the following weekend — Dec. 8 — for pick-up by teams of students from either school.
The history of the fundraiser runs prior to 1991, but a trophy — for raising the most combined dollar amounts and food donations — was first awarded in 1991. As a friendly competition for the schools, leadership classes use the opportunity to hone students’ skills in organization and community activities. The schools will gather all of the food donations and money, and will meet on Dec. 17 at the weigh-in to see who brings in the most during the Food Bowl drive.
At the schools and businesses around the towns, various activities will be hosted to encourage local communities to donate food and/or money.
Paper Bag Drive — Montesano students will be delivering paper bags to homes in the community on Dec. 1 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Community members are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items or may even make a monetary donation in the provided envelope. The following Sunday, the same students will return to collect donations.
Community members may leave their paper bags out on their doorstep from 1-4 p.m. (If your house is missed or if you are not home during these times, you can always bring your donation to the high school office.)
McTakeover — On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Montesano students will be taking over McDonald’s in Aberdeen from 5 to 8 p.m. A portion of the sales will go directly to the Montesano Food Bank. They will also have a hamburger-eating contest, a happy meal in a blender contest and the chicken nugget contest in the lobby of McDonald’s.
Dessert Bingo — On Sunday, Dec. 15, the school will host a dessert bingo night starting at 7 p.m. in the high school commons — $5 per bingo card. Local businesses and popular chefs will be making dessert for this event.
Boys Buff Volleyball — On Thursday, Dec. 12, several boys teams will be competing on the volleyball court in the high school gym for the popular Boys’ Buff Volleyball Tournament. Competition begins at 7 p.m.. Admission is six cans of food or $3.
Student Stoplight — Throughout Food Bowl, Montesano students will be collecting monetary donations at the four-way stoplight in town.
Boot Drive— Friday, Dec. 6th and 13, the students will be conducting their boot drive at the stoplight in Elma from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Fun Run — On Saturday, Dec. 7 is the annual Food Bowl Fun Run or Walk at Elma Ponds/Vance Creek Park. Registration starts at 9:15 a.m. with the race at 10 a.m. Cost is $15 and all proceeds go directly to Food Bowl.
Collections — Elma will have its Grocery Store Brigade out at Everybody’s and Gordon’s from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. each day from Dec. 9 through 13. Canvas the town paper bag pick-up is on Dec. 8 (fill the bag left on your door step).
Dodge Ball — There will be a dodge ball tournament at the Elma High gym from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec 9. Admission is six cans of food or $3.
Bingo/Auction — Basket Bingo, Dessert Auction and goodie walk is 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 in the EHS commons.