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Push-Ups for Food

Reinventing or revisiting ideas often make an idea seem new when, in fact, variations of the idea are everywhere. The key to fundraising or charity drives is to do something novel, to tie it into something your students feel pride and to have some hook that the school can witness collectively.

Like many schools we run an Food Drive at Galt Collegiate for our local Cambridge Food Bank. At this time of year students are feeling quite overwhelmed by the number of “drives” in which they have been involved, so we needed an idea that would stimulate the type of participation needed to make this activity work.

The Plan:   The first key ingredient was novelty. Our student council had set a goal in our minds of collecting one ton of food. This on its own approaches novelty but we needed something more — pride. Our school senior boys basketball team had recently won a league championship. So, instead of collecting a ton of food, we had a “weigh-in” in the cafeteria of each member of the team. This addressed a couple of key elements. First, it provided each team member a moment to be recognized by our student body. Second, the collective weight of the team became our goal for the food drive (2,279 pounds). Finally, comes the hook. The challenge to the school was to collect enough food to match or surpass the weight of the team. If this happened, the boys basketball team would collectively do ONE PUSH-UP FOR EACH POUND OF FOOD COLLECTED, in the cafeteria for everyone to witness. Not only have the boys been recognized for their championship but they have shown a wonderful community minded spirit.

Spin-off Event: For each pound of food collected in a homeroom, the homeroom will gain 10 points as part of our semester long homeroom competition, with the winning homeroom getting passes to Canada’s Wonderland.

Outcome: While it is wonderful if the target for the drive is met, this is still not the ultimate goal. What is most important is that awareness of both the team and the food drive has been raised and with that a wonderful community spirit within our school.

Mark Hunniford

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