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 Friday, March 7, the 66th day of 2014. There are 299 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat came up to her dock yesterday and was punching away at the ice, which is crowded up against the Iowa shore. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.C. Bromley, of Rock Island, has received a patent on a steam activated valve. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Major. C.W. Hawes, head clerk of the Modern Woodmen of America, was honored by department chiefs on his 73rd birthday 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mayor Robert Galbraith declared that 75 percent of the people here have talked to "favor construction of Rock Island's new city hall in Spencer Square." 1964 -- 50 years ago: C.H. Langman & Sons, Rock Island, has been awarded the general contract for partial rehabilitation and modernization of the main building at the East Moline State Hospital. The Langman firm bid $424,839. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The cost of living in the Quad-Cities is 6.8 percent less than the average of 260 metropolitan areas.