Last Friday students in Warwick Veterans Memorial High School’s Leadership Academy took part in the nationwide food drive campaign, the “Souper Bowl of Caring,” collecting close to 400 cans and $500 in just one day.
The idea behind the nationwide service campaign is that while many Super Bowl celebrations include a lot of food, there are still people who go hungry on a daily basis. The juniors and seniors that make up the Leadership Academy took this opportunity to hold a food drive for the Westbay Community Marketplace in Buttonwoods and spent an afternoon at the Rhode Island Food Bank.
“We packed boxes for kids’ lunches for February vacation when they don’t get school lunches,” said Elizabeth Kane, junior, about the Thursday afternoon trip.
Twenty-eight members of the Leadership Academy went to the Food Bank to create the vacation boxes, which included kid-friendly food for breakfast and lunch.
“It was sad but it felt good doing it because we were helping kids that don’t have what we have,” said Kane.
Through the power of social media, the students encouraged their classmates to bring in canned food items or monetary donations to buy food for the Buttonwoods Community Food Bank last Friday, to help those in need within their own community.
“We asked them to bring in a dollar or bring in a canned good, whatever you can,” explained Kane.
To tie the food drive to the big game, they also asked that the day be a Team Spirit Day.
“We tried to tell people to wear any jersey to support it,” said MaKenzie Pratt, junior.
Although the team was not playing in the Super Bowl, New England Patriot jerseys appeared to be the attire of choice for most of the Vets population, along with their own Hurricane team pride.
At the start of the lunch period, when the majority of collecting was expected to take place, the group had already collected over 300 canned goods. By the end of the day, their total was up to 371 cans and $500; it was all boxed up and delivered on Friday afternoon.
Nationally, 613 groups participated in the Souper Bowl collecting $2.7 million in cash and food items for local charities.
Looking ahead, Kane and Pratt explained that the group hopes to return to the Food Bank before April Vacation to make up food boxes once again, but their next project is participating in the Special Olympics’ Project Unity Plunge at Goddard Memorial Park on March 1. The students will run into the cold water of the bay to raise money to fund Vets’ Unified Basketball Team. The team’s funding was recently cut.
“We have a lot of people who really want to do it,” said Pratt, explaining that her classmates are getting really excited about participating in the costume contest associated with the plunge.