Competition Drives Can Totals

Cat Kolm, Staff Writer

The annual Canned Food Drive has again decked the halls with the giving spirit.  The donation drive began December 10 and ends on December 21, the last day before winter break.

“We donated over 60,000 cans last year,” said Leadership Commissioner of Cultural Diversity Anjali Bajaj.  “We’re hoping to get 70,000 this year.”

The canned food drive is a holiday activity Leadership has sponsored since at least 1996.  All the food donated goes to the Contra Costa Food Bank, which relies on drives like these during the holiday season.

This drive encourages friendly competition between teachers and classes to see who can donate the most in 2 categories: “Total Cans Collected” and “Greatest Can to Student Ratio.”

This spirit of amicable rivalry promotes better results.  “The competition’s a good way to get kids motivated to donate,” said junior Anna Fenske.  Over time, certain classes have been known to dominate the donations.  “It’s usually a showdown between Ingersoll, Schumann, and Walsh,” said Bajaj.  “They’re the top givers each year.”

Smoe teachers have developed strategies for collecting the most cans.  “I tell my kids to go through their emergency supplies of food cans and trade out the ones close to their expiration date,” said math teacher Tom Schumann, 1 of the usual winners of the “Most Cans Collected” title.  “I get them to think of how the people we’re donating to have to go to bed hungry – not by choice, but because there’s no food.”

“I usually encourage my students to think of how fortunate we are, and then let them set a goal,” said math teacher Ken Ingersoll.  “They set a goal for themselves – I want them to give for them, not for me.”

The student body’s reaction to the canned food drive was mixed this year.  “It’s great that Campo does it, but we don’t have enough motivation. It all depends on how motivated the teacher is,” said junior Carolyn Phu.

Usually, if a teacher is motivated to donate, the students will be inspired to donate as well.  Teachers who do not push their students to donate often suffer lower overall numbers.  Junior Arrada Karmonphet said, “It’s more on how motivated the teacher is than how motivated the school as a whole is.”

The fact that Ingersoll, traditionally one of the top contributors, doesn’t have a 4th period class this year certainly doesn’t help matters.  “I’m concerned,” said Ingersoll. “Leadership might not reach their goal this year.”

“I’m hoping people will see this as a challenge to get more cans, not a setback,” said Bajaj.

“I’m bummed – I’m gonna miss all the fun this year,” Ingersoll added.