For this year’s Munch Madness canned food drive, the associated student body at Kentwood decided they would try to raise 35,000 pounds of canned food.
Kurt Phelps, who teaches the leadership class at Kentwood and helped run the food drive, said at first it seemed like too much, even though every year they have added to their total donations.
“We’ve raised the bar every year,” Phelps said. “We always go, ‘Oh my gosh, no way.’ When I heard 35,000 was our goal I was like, ‘Wow.'”
By the end of the food drive on Dec. 7, Phelps said the school had already collected 40,000 pounds of food. In 2009, the school raised 28,000 pounds of canned food.
“It’s been going awesome,” he said. “They’ve been doing awesome.”
Much of the success can also be attributed to the school bracket system, which was created in 2008 by former ASB president Kevin Massimino. Inspired by the NCAA tournament style bracketing system, the school posts the results of each classroom after every collection session so that they can see how they compare to the rooms they are competing with.
“It’s a really good system because it kind of introduces an element of competition…at our school,” said Ryan Turner, the current ASB president. “Everyone really gets into it. It encourages people to bring it more. It’s been going awesome. They’ve been doing an awesome.”
Whereas last year they only started to pick up donations during the last collections Turner stated that this year the donations have been continuously pouring in.
“This year we’ve seen every single collection time is a recording setting,” he said. “I think the teachers got more into it. We’ve got a core group who know strategies (that work), being outside stores. I think they are able to motivate their classes to bring more cans.”
Phelps added, however, that the competition goes beyond beating other classrooms.
“There’s just the creativity not just to win, but just the fact that they want to contribute more than we have in the past,” he said. “We’ve had some classes that will set up a schedule to sit out in front of QFC and do two-hour shifts. They’ve gotten pretty elaborate.”
The canned food will be donated to local donation centers such as the Maple Valley Food Bank.