Orion High School was Monday's big winner in the kick-off for the 27th Annual Student Hunger Drive at the River Bend Foodbank in downtown Moline.
Orion won a 2,000-pound headstart from Hy-Vee in the annual food drive that pits students from area high schools against each other for bragging rights and a chance to do something about hunger. Orion's rapping skit put them in a three-way tie with Quad City Christian School and Heritage Christian School before Orion claimed top honors in a "skit-off."
"We're a small community, but we are going to show we've got the stuff to win this," Orion sophomore Sam Mitchell said. Orion junior Emily Hull also predicted Orion will upset perennial student food-drive juggernaut Alleman High School in Rock Island, which has been in first place since 1997.
"They are going down," Ms. Hull said.
That kind of enthusiasm is going to be needed, said Student Hunger Drive executive director Denise Hester.
"Demand is up," she said. "The food bank has experienced cuts from government programs and cuts to the Farm Bill have greatly affected the River Bend Foodbank.
"We are hoping between the kids' drive and our corporate drive we can fill in that gap."
According to information from the food bank, 40 percent of the households receiving food have at least one full-time employed adult. Nearly 40 percent of the recipients are children under the age of 18. About 10,000 individuals receive emergency food assistance in the community every week.
During the last 26 years, the student hunger drive has collected and distributed 14 million pounds of food. Students from 18 area high schools participate -- planning events to promote the drive, organizing their food collection and packaging and delivering all of the collected food to the River Bend Foodbank.
Students will be honored for their efforts at an awards party on Nov. 8.
The food bank serves 22 counties in Iowa and Illinois. Food collected from the Student Hunger Drive will be distributed to 120 different food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day care centers and rehabilitation centers.
Today is Sunday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2014. There are 101 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We hear that Col. Reynolds has employed C.D. Merrill to drill for water to supply the Rock Island Barracks. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Billy Catton, famous billard player, returned to Rock Island with a view to making this city his home in the future. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The belief is growing that a great decisive battle of the World War was being fought at Verdun, a strong fortress of France on the Meuse near the French frontier, according to a London dispatch. 1939 -- 75 years ago: William Stremmel, 91, Rock Island's last Civil War veteran, died. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Workmen of the Midwest Wrecking Co., Clinton, have begun razing the historic old office building of Deere & Co., 1325 3rd Ave., Moline. The site will be used by the Deere Plow Works for its shipping and receiving department. 1989 -- 25 years ago: East Moline developer Jim Massa says the financial package for the proposed $34.5 million Quad City International Motor Speedway is down to making sure "all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Finalizing this will give the green light to see if NASCAR and CART, the auto racing sanctioning bodies, approve race dates.