For the past five years, Grand County Middle School (GCMS) has held an annual food drive where students bring in canned good to donate. This year was the most successful yet, and on Thursday, Nov. 16, students were able to deliver 720 pounds of food to the food bank.
“We just had a really great response this year,” said Alina Murdock, art and Utah history teacher and co-advisor of the GCMS Honor Society.
“The person who does the most of the organizing is Joan Cannon,” Murdock said. Cannon is the school librarian and the other co-advisor of the Honor Society. Murdock said she views Cannon as a large part of the drive’s success, and added that Cannon will often leave notes on student’s lockers to remind them about the drive and encourage their participation.
Students were motivated to participate in the drive through a homeroom competition. The Honor Society provides cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate to the class that wins.
“I think part of the reason there’s so much food is because everyone wanted to win,” said Jacob Knight, GCMS 8th grader and treasurer of the Honor Society. One member of the Honor Society government is chosen to spearhead one of the organization’s three yearly charity events. Knight was the student in charge of this year’s food drive.
Knight’s duties included designing a bulletin board for the event and making sure everything was in order. “It kind of became chaos,” Knight said, describing one of the challenges of the drive, “because there was so much food we didn’t have enough bins.”
This was less of a problem, however, and more of an indication of the overwhelming response of the students. Knight said that a single student contributed 36 cans to the drive. The students’ motivations to donate were two-fold.
“I think it’s important to help people who aren’t as privileged as others so they can have a good Thanksgiving dinner,” Knight said about his experience with the drive. He also said that a middle school teacher, Erik Secrist, who is known to be competitive, likely motivated the winning class.
In the end, the students donated enough food to fill three bins with cans, one bin with boxed food, and one bin with miscellaneous food. Reflecting on the experience, Knight had one piece of advice for future organizers of the annual event: “Put a lot more garbage cans out than you’d think you’d need.”