Helping out

École Centennial staff and students at the Swift Current Salvation Army food bank after delivering a large amount of items collected during the school's food drive, Dec. 3. Standing at  the far right end of the group is Salvation Army Capt. Charlotte Dean.

A food drive at École Centennial School in Swift Current collected a large number of items for the local food bank.

Students and staff delivered the items to the food bank at the Swift Current Salvation Army, Dec. 3. The boxes and containers of donated goods filled two trucks and the loading area of a SUV.

École Centennial teacher Tenille Kirtzinger, who is an advisor for the senior SLC, said the thousands of items were collected through a classroom competition over a period of nine days.

“The students looked at the items that the food bank needed and they selected a double point item for each day of the week,” she explained. “So classrooms competed to see who could bring the most food. If they brought a double point on that day, they got two points and then the other items counted as one point. We had a graph going so classrooms could see where they were in the competition and just to motivate them to bring more food.”

The double point items for the different days were selected based on the most needed food items on the food bank’s list. The entire school took part in this food drive and there was a very good response from students.

“They were very excited,” she said. “Lots of students and parents and teachers said they appreciated having the different items to bring. It got their kids more involved in picking items and they brought more for the food drive as a result.”

The school collected items for the food bank in previous years, but the format of this year’s food drive was new.

“This was the first time doing these specific items on each day, and other staff have said this is the most food we've had so far ever,” she noted.

The Grade 8 class of Stephanie Wiens won the classroom competition. The format helped to motivate students, because they could see their points increasing after each day.

“We have a group of about 20 SLC members that were on this committee,” Kirtzinger said. “So they helped with collecting food every day and counting it and they were a huge part in making sure this ran smoothly.”

The food drive raised awareness among students about helping others and giving back to the community.

“I think students realized that they're really fortunate to have the things that they have, and they were really excited that this gives back to our local community and they're helping people around them in their community,” she said.

The allocation of points to items on the food bank list made students more aware of what are needed by the food bank.

“A lot of students mentioned, when they were looking at the calendar, they didn't know the food bank accepted things such as personal toiletries,” she said. “It was an eye-opening thing for them as well, just to see what they could all bring.”

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