River Bend Food Bank’s 37th Annual Student Hunger Drive comes to an end this week with food loading days and weigh-ins on Wednesday, November 8 and Thursday November 9, followed by the “Finale Rally” held at the Spotlight Theater, 1800 Seventh Avenue in Moline, on Thursday night.  The cumulative total will be revealed at the Finale Rally, along with individual school awards.

The drive started on October 2 and students have been planning and holding their own food and funds drives and setting goals for their schools, while “competing” against other area high schools. Students learned about hunger and volunteerism while working with the Food Bank to organize their drives.

A record 817,038 meals were collected last year and River Bend Food Bank’s Chief Development Officer Jenny Colvin says that record can be broken again.

“The creativity and drive demonstrated by these students continue to amaze,” said Colvin.  “Based on all of the efforts we’ve seen to this point, I think a record-breaking total is very possible.”

Schools will receive awards in three divisions, based on student enrollment, for 1st and 2nd place based on total food and funds collected at the Finale Rally:

  • Division C (up to 199 enrolled students):
    • 1st place
    • 2nd place
  • Division B (200-1250 enrolled students):
    • 1st place
    • 2nd place
  • Division A (over 1250 enrolled students):
    • 1st place
    • 2nd place

The 2023 Mission Challenge Award will be presented to one school overall. This award is given to a participating school that writes a 500-word essay and presents a display board showing how their school embodies the mission of River Bend Food Bank, “leading the community-wide effort to end hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.” A “Most Improved School” award will be given to the school that has made the largest percentage increase in pounds per student collected.

The Student Hunger Drive’s six-week, competition among area high schools has collected over 16 million meals for residents dealing with food insecurity in River Bend Food Bank’s 23-county service area since 1985. Students from 17 area high schools participated in the food and funds drive this year.

“This has been another great year for the Student Hunger Drive and the kids have worked as hard as ever,” said Nancy Renkes, President & CEO of River Bend Food Bank. “It’s an honor to be part of an event that brings together education and community in such a powerful way.”

Schools participating in the Student Hunger Drive this year include:

  • 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

According to the most recent data through Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap Study, in 2022, an estimated 49 million people used food assistance programs across the U.S.

For more information on River Bend Food Bank, including pantry locations and ways to volunteer, click here.