From cook-offs to dodgeball, 16 Charlotte-area schools get creative to fight hunger

Providence High students perform a skit at the kickoff of this year’s Carolinas Student Hunger Drive.
Providence High students perform a skit at the kickoff of this year’s Carolinas Student Hunger Drive.

Things have been kind of crazy at 16 Charlotte-area high schools this fall. There were glow runs, dodgeball games and a principal getting pie in the face.

East Mecklenburg High School took the prize for creativity with a rice-and-beans cook-off, but the real winner was Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and the hungry families it helps feed. The activities were part of the sixth annual Carolinas Student Hunger Drive, which brought North and South Carolina teens together to collect 288,633 pounds of food.

Schools in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and York (S.C.) counties held fund-raisers and food drives. There was literally a prize – $500 – for most creative event. East Meck, which has an award-winning culinary arts program, won by inviting all clubs to create original rice-and-beans dishes and submit them for taste-testing, with entry fees going to the food drive.

288,633 pounds of food collected this year

192,422 meals that will generate

1,081,432 pounds collected since 2010

The Carolinas drive, which is part of a national nonprofit that started in Iowa in 1986, is sponsored by Food Lion and supported by several other corporate partners. That arrangement provides prizes of $2,000 for schools that collected the most in their division and $1,000 for runners-up.

Winners were:

▪ Fort Mill High in Division I, with Providence High as runner-up.

▪ Fort Mill’s Nation Ford High in Division II, with East Meck as runner-up.

▪ Cannon School, a private school in Cabarrus County, in Division III, with Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College High as runner-up. Amy Conarroe from the early college high won a $500 American Airlines travel card for the teacher/adviser award.

▪ Myers Park High won $500 for the most improved effort.

▪ Leslie Nyandjo, a student at North Mecklenburg High, won the Food Lion Feeds “hunger heroes” award, a $500 scholarship that recognizes leadership in the drive. She got her church and Huntersville elementary and middle schools involved in this year’s collection.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms