After last year raising a record 817,038 meals, the Quad Cities Student Hunger Drive is back and will kick off next month.

This year, with fewer food donations from USDA programs and manufacturers/distributors and increased costs for families, the Student Hunger Drive is paramount to increasing the River Bend Food Bank’s supplies and varieties of food to distribute to community members in need, according to a Tuesday release from the Davenport-based Food Bank.

Since 1985, the Student Hunger Drive’s six-week, “friendly competition” among area high schools has provided over 16 million meals to children and adults facing hunger in River Bend Food Bank’s 23-county service area.

The 2022 Student Hunger Drive collected a record 817,038 meals for River Bend Food Bank.

This year, students from 17 area high schools will participate in the food and funds drive, which will engage them in meeting a crucial community need while introducing them to service and philanthropy.

Through the drive, students plan and execute their own food and funds drives from Oct. 2 through Nov. 9, 2023. They set goals for their school while “competing” with other area high schools for the honor of being named top fundraisers in their school’s division.

During this hands-on, leadership development experience, students receive education on hunger, learn about volunteerism, and work with the Food Bank and their neighborhood elementary and middle schools to organize their school’s drive.

QC high school students celebrate the end of the 2021 Student Hunger Drive.

According to the most recent data through Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap Study, hunger continues to be a prevalent issue that requires a community-wide response. In 2022, an estimated 49 million people accessed food assistance programs across the U.S., showing that the work of food banks and local food pantries was and continues to be essential to prevent devastating food insecurity during this time of high inflation and economic instability.

“The Student Hunger Drive is one of our most recognizable fundraisers and also our most fun,” said Nancy Renkes, president/CEO of River Bend Food Bank. “We love being able to bring hunger education and awareness to the next generation, while empowering students to support our mission in their own creative ways.  It’s great for the students and a great benefit to our community.”

The Student Hunger Drive gives thousands of students the opportunity to become a greater part of the community-wide effort to end hunger. Students collect items in their neighborhoods and at their schools, holding special school events and challenges to collect monetary and food donations.

Students package the collected food and deliver it to River Bend Food Bank’s warehouse at the end of the competition.

Amounts are totaled and winning schools receive awards for 1st or 2nd place in their division, along with an award for the Mission Challenge Winner – the school that best exemplifies the mission of River Bend Food Bank. Students focus on not only collecting the most food but food that is nutritious and able to be used by their classmates who may be experiencing hunger.

2023 Student Hunger Drive Event Schedule

  • Monday, Oct. 2nd – Kick-Off Party and Skit Competition, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., The Spotlight Theatre, 1800 7th Ave., Moline.
  • Thursday, Nov. 10th – Loading Day, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., River Bend Food Bank, 4010 Kimmel Drive, Davenport.
  • Thursday, Nov. 10th – Finale Rally, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Spotlight Theatre, 1800 7th Ave., Moline.

Student Hunger Drive participating schools –

Alleman High School, Assumption High School, Bettendorf High School, Davenport Central High School, Davenport North High School, Davenport West High School, Mid-City High School, Moline High School, Morning Star Academy, North Scott High School, Orion High School, Pleasant Valley High School, Quad Cities Christian School, Rivermont Collegiate, Rock Island High School, Sherrard High School, United Township High School.

For more information on the food bank, visit its website HERE.