SPS Food Fight Sets New Record
The competition was tight among 71 schools and local partnering businesses that participated in this year’s annual Springfield Public Schools Food Fight.
Thanks to the hard work of students, teachers, administrators and the community, this year’s food drive set a new record. Schools and their partners collected enough food and funds to provide nearly 57,000 meals—17,000 more than last year. The food donations will benefit Ozarks Food Harvest’s partner pantries including school pantries at Hillcrest, Jarrett, Study Alternative and Central. Financial gifts will sponsor 29 children for a full school year of Weekend Backpack Program meals.
Pipkin won in the middle school category, and Kickapoo is the winner in the high school category. These schools will be awarded traveling trophies this month.
Classes from Bissett, Bowerman, Jeffries, McGregor and Pittman all won field trips to Ozarks Food Harvest to learn more about how The Food Bank processes, stores and distributes donations.
Several new categories were added for this year’s Food Fight. Study Alternative received the “Above and Beyond Award” for a record amount of donations collected and for hosting an Empty Bowls event. Pleasant View won the Kindergarten to 8th grade category, and Shady Dell was the early childhood center winner.
“Our students are incredibly engaged in this effort,” said Marty Moore, executive director of Learning Support and Partnerships at SPS. “Nurses at each site help coordinate Food Fight and continue to find innovative ways to take the drive to the next level.”
Students, teachers and administrators all enjoyed the competition. Within the schools, many classes chose to compete against one another to see who could raise the most food or funds. Teachers rewarded their students with fun treats. At Bingham Elementary School, the winning class covered the school principal with silly string.
“Not only is Food Fight so much fun for the schools each year, but it gets kids of all ages involved in the fight against hunger,” said Jennifer Sickinger, community engagement manager at Ozarks Food Harvest. “With this drive, we’re able to fill some of the pantries we have at local schools and provide meals for the Weekend Backpack Program, so all of the food and funds stay in the local community. Kids are able to understand that the food they donate may help a food insecure friend in their class.”
Since Food Fight began in 2011, SPS students and community partners have helped provide more than 200,000 meals.