GHS, Buchholz do battle on behalf of food bank

Published: Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 10:12 p.m.

It was Gainesville High vs. Buchholz on Saturday — a longtime city rivalry that almost always has emotions running high.

But this battle was for a cause, and it paid dividends: 2,682 donated food items and $1,290 raised — all for the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank in Gainesville.

It was the inaugural Gainesville "Can Can" food drive competition, hosted by the two schools' student governments and held on the GHS campus.

GHS and Buchholz actually began the friendly competition in December and worked to collect as many food and dollar donations as they could. Saturday's Can-Can was the culminating event, one final push to get donations.

"We actually got the idea after the University of Florida's Freshman Leadership Council came to speak with our student government," said Lexi Ives, 17, a junior at Gainesville High School. "They gave us a lot of great ideas, and we came up with this one that would be fun to incorporate the rivalry, too."

The two high schools plan to make the food drive an annual event and were happy with the results from the first run.

Twelve businesses sponsored the two-month drive by donating food, providing food at Saturday's event or by donating gift cards redeemable at their businesses.

Stevie Faulk, 17, a junior at Buchholz, said the collective student governments were able to reach out to the list of business partners they consistently work with for similar events.

In the future, the food drive will start earlier in December to include more of the holiday season, said Linda Aubrey, director of student activities at GHS.

"We would like even more community involvement," Aubrey said.

Although no official prize was awarded to the winning school on Saturday, GHS got the unofficial bragging rights.

GHS won donated 1,419 non-perishable food items and gave $820 solely toward buying more food donations. Buchholz donated 1,263 items and gave $470.

"It was fun, and the students have learned a lot through the whole journey," Aubrey said. "One of the best aspects that was fun for the students is partnering up and working together. They saw they could make a difference."

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