Canned Madness food drive inspires students

Inspired by the collegiate March Madness basketball competition, Canned Madness is based on a 15-point scale ranging from most needed to least needed items in the food pantry. This connection is made to help students become more involved in the food drive itself.

ASB president Noah McDonald expands on the main purpose of the food drive.

“The main purpose of Canned Madness is to get students and teachers more involved in the food drive and to inspire them to be more competitive. It brings out a more competitive nature in teachers against each other to inspire their students to bring in food. The whole purpose is to give back to Puyallup,” McDonald said.

McDonald reflects on the ways that the competition aspect has impacted the involvement for the food drive.

“In years past if you just say ‘hey, bring in food’ people are not going to be inclined to do it as much, compared to ‘hey, this is a tournament we have going on with this teacher against this teacher’ it just makes it more fun,” McDonald said.

Spanish teacher and winner of last years’ Canned Madness competition, Nick O’Neil agrees that the aspect of competing has upped the ante and inspired students to participate.

“I think the competition definitely helps bring in more food than otherwise would be brought in. Everyone is working together to move on against another class and it means that they need to bring in more and more each time if they want to stay in the competition,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil goes over his expectations for this years’ competition in comparison to last years’.

“I expected Orton to be my fiercest competitor and come back stronger than ever since we beat him last year, which I think has happened. I also expected there to be a lot more donations as students and teachers become more aware of the need and understand how the competition works,” O’Neil said.

Senior HOSA student Jessica Hailey states that to her, the food drive is way to get students and staff involved in helping others. Hailey believes that the food pantry is a great resource for students and their families to utilize on a daily basis.

“It is something that students can use here. A great thing is lunches, not that they do not need [food] at home but they have a lunch here and that is just awesome. It is something that students do not have to worry about. It allows everyone to be a kid and be able to have fewer things to be worried about,” Hailey said.

O’Neil shares his feelings on the importance of the food drive.

“For me the food drive means helping those PHS students and families that need it most. I am so happy that our school has chosen to donate all of the food to the food pantry here at PHS. I think before it was donated to local organizations which is great but recognizing the need at PHS and being able to fulfill it is a really positive and important thing,” O’Neil said.

Aside from food products the food pantry also holds hygiene products, baby products, school supplies and coats. The goal of Canned Madness is to collect the products that are most needed in the pantry. McDonald spoke of the process they used to assign point values to each group of products.

“This year we talked to HOSA because they run the food bank and they gave us a list of things from least important to most important so that is what we based the points off of. Higher end points are the most things they need. This year they have so much water and Top Ramen so it is like we do not really need any more so that is the lowest amount of points,” McDonald said.

AP Psychology and AP Government teacher Matt White’s first period class brought in a total of 10,224 points and will receive a pancake breakfast.