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 Thursday, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2013. There are 19 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Two boys who haul coal from Coal Valley to Davenport were arrested yesterday for running their teams through the city street at a furious rate. 1888 -- 125 years ago: E.H. Barker dislocated his left wrist and suffered a compound fracture of the right wrist when he fell from the roof of his icehouse. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Lou Harris was elected county superintendent of schools to fill the unexpired term of the late S.J. Ferguson. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a state must give equality in educational privileges to white and Negro law students. 1963 -- 50 years ago: About 300 employees of the Augustana Book Concern, staff members of the Board of Publication of the Lutheran Church in America, as well as friends of the community and out-of-town guests honored Dr. Birger Swenson at the annual Christmas dinner of the Augustana Book Concern last night in Westerlin Hall on the Augustana College campus. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The Christmas shopping season began early this year and continues to bring out shoppers in record numbers, according to Quad-Cities retailers interviewed today.