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A friendly food feud: Waterloo Region high schools collect 22K meals for food bank

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A friendly challenge among local high schools is resulting in 22,000 meals being donated to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

"This year one of the projects they wanted to work on was the We Scare Hunger campaign," said Kitchener Collegiate Institute (KCI) teacher Bill Bulmer.

Led by students at KCI, the school challenged their peers at Bluevale, Laurel Heights and Waterloo Collegiate over the last couple of weeks to see which school could collect and donate the largest amount of food.

"We were tracking how much money we raised, as well as how many food items we raised, and tallied up all the points and converted them to meals using the Food Bank of Waterloo Region's meal conversion," said KCI student Evan Hodson.

Monday was the last day to collect after the two-week window. During that time, KCI had to keep increasing their target goal.

"The food really piled up. It was really surprising," said KCI student Jazzlyn Ring.

"We had a goal of 3,500 meals at the start and we quickly had to change that," Taite Koehler, another KCI student, said.

Along the way, students learned how collection efforts help connect the community.

"It's just amazing to show what we can do for our community here," said KCI student Selma Sljibar.

"I think it goes to show the spirit and the energy and the dedication all of our students and staff have," said Hodson.

By the final tally, KCI raised the most of the schools involved with 11,546 out of the total 22,000 meals.

"Especially as we head into these winter months, it really, really helps us," said Emily Brown, community events and development coordinator with the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

The food bank says this effort will help them fill inventory gaps, buy food to meet diverse cultural and dietary needs and keep delivery trucks on the road.

It comes at a time, they say, when a large number of people in Waterloo Region are turning to the food bank.

"One in 10 households are accessing emergency food assistance. The situation is dire," said Brown.

Everyone seems to agree, it is evidence that a friendly food fight can go a long way in keeping food on the table.

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